M.V. Harris; C. Probart, PhD, RD, LD; E. McDonnell, MS, RD, and K. Dvorchak. Penn State University, Nutrition Department, University Park, PA 16802.
From a needs assessment, two-day computerized nutrient analysis workshops were developed and delivered to 108 Pennsylvania School Food Service Directors (SFSD).
A pretest-intervention-posttest design was used to assess knowledge, skills and attitudes towards computers and nutrient analysis software (NAS). Knowledge and attitudes were measured using a Likert scale. Skills were measured by self-reported ability to perform various tasks. Increases were found in computer knowledge (p=.0006) and knowledge of NAS (p=.0000). Improvements were found in attitudes towards computers (p=.021) and using NAS with nervousness decreasing (p=.0022) and enjoyablity increasing (p=.0000). No significant difference was found in perceptions of how difficult NAS would be for the subjects (p=.39); however, the initial perceptions were very positive suggesting a "ceiling effect". Computer skills did not change, possibly due to the high level of baseline skills. After the workshop perceptions of NAS skills increased (p=.0000) by 48.6%. SFSD increased NAS skills to assess the nutritional value of school meals (p=.0000), to add recipes (p=.0000), to adjust number of recipe portions (p=.0000), and to create a menu (p=.0000) as well as ability to choose NAS for school districts (p=.0000). In summary, a computerized nutrient analysis training workshop demonstrated significant improvement in SFSD computer knowledge and attitudes as well as NAS knowledge, skills and attitudes. This project was funded by a USDA Team Nutrition grant, administered through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of Food and Nutrition.