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Enhanced Nutrition Education For Paraprofessional WIC Staff

Authors
Journal
Journal of the American Dietetic Association
0002-8223
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
98
Issue
9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0002-8223(98)00468-4
Keywords
  • Tuesday
  • October 20
Disciplines
  • Education
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract A local health department employs paraprofessionals to perform certifications and provide basic nutrition education for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Seventy-two percent of these paraprofessionals reported no formal nutrition education prior to hire. A nutrition knowledge pretest/post test confirmed that new hires, with an average score of 44%, had not established the knowledge base of experienced paraprofessionals who scored an average of 89%. Although the state WIC office provides training through a series of self study modules, a focus group of WIC paraprofessionals indicated that a simple nutrition guide would be useful for new hires and that monthly nutrition education sessions would lead to enhanced counseling skills for both new and experienced WIC staff. The agency developed a pocket-size, spiral-bound nutrition reference guide to augment the official training program and to ensure quality of client care through consistency of counseling. A survey showed that 78% of the WIC paraprofessionals regularly used the reference guide during counseling. To augment the guide, quarterly nutrition education sessions on a variety of topics have been provided to WIC staff by registered dietitians.

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