The development and evaluation of a nutrition education program for female ballet students attending the School of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Professional Division

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Wilsack, Lynn H.
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This project was undertaken to accomplish the following objectives: firstly, to develop, present and evaluate a nutrition education program for the female students at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School (RWB), Professional Division, and secondly to investigate factors which may potentially affect the relationship of nutrition knowledge and dietary quality for these students. Twenty three female RWB students between the ages of 13 and 17 years agreed to take part. Prior to the nutrition education program, each of the 23 students completed a nutrition knowledge test, an eating practices questionnaire (EPQ) and the Jackson Personality Research Form AA. Body size dissatisfaction was measured using somatotype diagrams within the EPQ. Twenty-one students recorded food intake for 2 weekdays and one weekend day. Intakes of energy, protein, calcium and iron were calculated from these records, and a dietary quality score based on the Canada Food Guide was applied to all records. Nutrition knowledge was low for this group: 17.9 +- 4.9 (SD) out of 34 points, as were dietary quality scores: 9.1 +- 2.18 (SD) out of 16 points. Intakes of energy were low with 65% of the students consuming less than 1500 kcal. Nutrient intakes analyzed in terms of estimates of true deficients showed a large percentage of students deficient for iron (23,1%) and smaller percentages deficient for calcium (16.9% without supplements) and protein (7.8). No effect of place of residence was observed for dietary quality score, or for nutrient intakes. The mean EPQ score was 111.8 +- 29.2 points. Thirteen of the students scored in excess of 100 points, the score considered to be indicative of unstable eating patterns. This group of adolescents scored within the norms for all personality characteristics. Affiliation, dominance, play and desirability were significantly and negatively correlated with EPQ score (p < 0.05). Body size dissatisfaction was widespread with 69.6% selecting as ideal, body somatotype diagrams which were at least 10% smaller than the indicated current perceived body size. Body size dissatisfaction scores were significantly lower (p = 0.042) for the younger group (13-15 years of age) as were EPQ scores (p = 0.006). Body size dissatisfaction was significantly correlated with EPQ score (r = 0.74, p = 0.0001). Fourteen of the students completed a posttest nutrition knowledge test and three day food record. Nutrition knowledge scores increased with attendance of the program but not significantly (p < 0.025). Increase in nutrition knowledge was correlated with the trait 'order' (p = 0.008). No significant change in dietary quality score was observed over the program period, however change in dietary score was correlated with the traits 'harmavoidance' and 'nurturance' (p < 0.05). Results indicate that body size dissatisfaction is a factor which affects the dietary practices of the students leading to unstable eating patterns. Intakes of energy and iron are of concern for this group of girls. There is a need and desire for nutrition education at the RWB, Professional Division.