Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Saigeetha Sangiah

Second Advisor

Darlington C. Mundende

Third Advisor

Zola J. Drain


The nutritional knowledge, food choice, and exercise habits of an individual determine his or her overall health and life expectancy. Information on these topics enables nutrition educators to develop strategies to improve knowledge and to tailor educational efforts which affect a large number of persons. Poor health in America today is an ever present reality. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, cerebrovascular diseases, renal diseases, and pulmonary diseases are causes of death related in part to lack of nutritional knowledge and poor eating and exercise habits. A few of these diseases are chronic in nature and are the most deadly.

The process of nutritional assessment has long been used to identify specific nutritional problems that demand attention and correction. The major health problems in the United States and much of the industrialized world have nutrition at their root. The ten leading causes of death in the United States are in some way related to the lack of adequate knowledge, adequate nutrition, or both. Increasingly young people are experiencing obesity, high blood pressure, and high serum cholesterol. These conditions pose problems in nutrition and healthy lifestyles in general. Given that behavior is related positively to knowledge, good nutrition and medical knowledge should have a positive effect upon eating habits. Studies show that if an individual is educated as to what is harmful, he or she usually demonstrates behavior changes to avoid possible negative effects. The general understanding, then, is that if an individual knows better, the individual will do better.