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Wednesday, April 22 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Do Classroom Lessons About Poverty and Hands on Experiences with Healthy Low Cost Food Preparation Impact North Carolina Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of Poverty?

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Poverty and food insecurity are significant problems in North Carolina with 1 in 5, or 1.7 million North Carolinians living at or below the national poverty line. The purpose of this study was to better understand student’s’ perceptions of poverty and SNAP benefits at a small liberal arts college in Western North Carolina, and to assess student knowledge level before and after providing classroom and experiential education. Students in three nutrition classes (n=90) were given pre-and post-surveys addressing students’ personal understanding of national poverty income levels, amount of assistance the government provides, and student perceptions about poverty. A sub-group of students (n=16) participated in 1 of 2 cooking classes focused on healthy eating on a budget. The 2-hour cooking classes involved the preparation of one days’ worth of meals on a budget of $4 a day or less. The student cooking group completed a reflection assignment which indicates that 77% of the respondents reported an increase in cost awareness and interest in healthy low cost food preparation. Paired sample t-tests of pre-post survey questions revealed no statistically significant differences; however, when asked how likely low income individuals are to purchase nutritionally balanced meals, likelihood was higher in the post survey (mean of 2.06) than in the pre survey (mean of 1.63), which suggests that the experiential education may have influenced the students’ perceptions of poverty. Further research is needed to determine the positive effects, if any, of classroom and hands on lessons on poverty and healthy eating on a budget.


Wednesday April 22, 2015 3:20pm - 3:40pm PDT
410 Wilma Sherrill Center