Educational Methods to Change Dietary Behavior Related to Consumption of Tofu

By Zigun, Deborah F. | Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, Summer 1997 | Go to article overview

Educational Methods to Change Dietary Behavior Related to Consumption of Tofu


Zigun, Deborah F., Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences


Abstract: Three educational methods were evaluated for their effectiveness in influencing consumers to change their tofu consumption. The methods combined posters, a fact/recipe sheet, an actual demonstration, and tasting. A sample aseptic box of tofu was distributed to interested participants. A self-administered pre/post-program questionnaire was used to evaluate change in tofu consumption. Paired t-tests yielded a statistically significant increase in consumption using all three methods. No difference in consumption was found between methods. Analysis of variance yielded a significantly greater increase in tofu consumption among participants who had tasted tofu prior to the program than participants who had never tasted tofu before the program.

Consumers have been challenged by the Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans (USDA and USDHHS, 1995) to eat a variety of foods and choose foods within food groups that are low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. The Food Guide Pyramid (USDA,1992) suggests two to three servings each day of foods from the meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts group. The total amount of these servings should be equivalent to five to seven ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish per day.

Setting dietary recommendations is a first step in improving consumer nutrition. The challenge to the Family and Consumer Sciences professional is twofold: Communicating nutrition education (information consumers can use to make dietary choices) and promoting nutrition by communicating basic action steps that put nutrition knowledge to use by improving dietary intake. These two elements are key to enabling consumers to convert research into knowledge and finally into behavior change (Sutton, Layden, & Haven,1996).

Tofu is a source of complete protein equivalent in nutritional value to animal sources of protein (Wayler et al., 1983; Young et al., 1984; Young, 1991). The fat content of tofu ranges from 2 to 5 g of fat in a serving of 3 oz. Tofu contains no saturated fat or cholesterol and is a relatively inexpensive source of complete protein.

Tofu consumption can potentially prevent a number of diseases. Research studies are evaluating the ability of soy protein to reduce the incidence of certain forms of cancer (Cassidy, Bingham, & Setchell, 1994; Lee et al., 1991; Linassier, Pierre, Le Pecq, & Pierre, 1990; Protease inhibitors as cancer chemopreventive agents, 1989), coronary heart disease (Carroll, 1991; Mercer, Carroll, Giovannetti, Steinke, & Wolfe,1987; Potter et al., 1993), and osteoporosis (Breslau, Brinkley, Hill, & Pak, 1988; Kalu, Masoro, Yu, Hardin, & Hollis,1988; Messina, Messina, Setchell, 1994). While many studies evaluating the role of tofu in disease prevention currently are being conducted, no conclusions have been drawn to date. In this study tofu was viewed as a food substitute to add variety to the diet while serving as a protein source that is complete and free of saturated fat and cholesterol. The purpose of this study was to test three educational methods to determine if they influenced consumer consumption of tofu.

Method

Three educational methods were developed to determine the most effective way to influence consumer consumption of tofu. These methods combined an educational poster exhibit, the consumer fact/recipe sheet called "Tofu: Nutritious and Versatile," and recipe tasting. Consumers also were given a sample aseptic box of tofu. A self-administered preprogram questionnaire was used to evaluate tofu consumption prior to the study. Data were tabulated according to the number of servings eaten per month. Self-administered postprogram questionnaires measured the change in consumption.

Recipes were tested with focus groups for consumer acceptance. The recipes used in this study were previously evaluated as tasting good, looking appealing, and being easy to prepare with a minimum amount of equipment and number of ingredients. …

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