Design, Implementation, and Scholarship of Knowledge Mobilization Interventions Related to Dairy Products and Alternatives as Foods for Health in Grade 7 Youth
Dairy products are implicated as part of a healthy diet and are a convenient source of nutrients necessary in the diets of pre-adolescents and adolescents. Despite the known health benefits of dairy products, Canadian national data suggest that dairy products are grossly under-consumed by children and adolescents, as 61% of boys and 83% of girls aged 10 to 16 do not meet the minimum recommended three servings of dairy products per day. It is therefore of interest to investigate how we can effectively convey health research regarding dairy products and alternatives as foods for healthy development to pre-adolescents and adolescents. Previous research has yielded conflicting results regarding why adolescents fail to meet dairy intake requirements and does not present clear techniques that are most effective in creating dietary behaviour change in adolescents. These gaps can be appropriately investigated using the KTA cycle framework to provide a foundation to systematically investigate how to translate research knowledge into components necessary in delivering a successful intervention. A cluster randomized controlled trial was informed by the KTA cycle framework and developed based on the results from the first two studies of this thesis. Adolescents were randomized by school, into intervention or control. Intervention schools received the WhyDairy intervention with a website component for six to eight weeks and were further randomized to receive follow-up contact or no contact, while control schools received a DFO education program which spanned four weeks. All groups significantly increased their knowledge post-intervention. While there was moderate engagement with the website during the intervention period, there was poor engagement during the follow-up period. The email campaign was successful in reaching parents, but did not result in high engagement or changes in student outcomes. Overall, this thesis demonstrates how KTT theory, including consultation with the target audience, can be effectively used in nutrition intervention research. From these results, new knowledge gaps and questions have been identified such as places where more contact and work with the adolescents could have further improved the intervention development and potentially resulted in the desired change in dairy intake.