Low Cost Pharmacist-Directed Diabetes Awareness and Prevention Program Targeting Elementary Students
As national rates of Type II diabetes grow, efforts to reduce the rate of disease must be aimed at the youth of America. In 2004-2005, records show 20.4% of third graders in Hardin County, Ohio were considered overweight. The objective of this program is to provide a low cost interactive program aimed at educating third grade students on the basics of diabetes and strategies to prevent the disease through nutrition and physical activity. The project was designed to assess the student’s previous knowledge and their capability to attain and maintain knowledge through an interactive program.
This study was approved by IRB. This research initiative was modeled after an American Diabetes Association program. Two student pharmacists designed and implemented an interactive diabetes awareness program in association with a local elementary school. The program consisted of three different lessons all approved by the health teacher for incorporation into her curriculum as part of the student’s normal physical education classes. The first lesson plan was on diabetes followed by nutrition and physical activity. Each lesson was formatted to include elements of an educational video, teaching, and an interactive game. Each lesson was conducted during consecutive physical education classes. A pre and post-test, consisting of ten true or false questions, were used to assess the students understanding of material discussed during the program. The test was conducted using clicker devices that recorded student’s answers anonymously. The post-test results were compared to pre-test results to determine if there was an improvement in their knowledge base over time and if they retained this information over several months. Data were analyzed using SPSSx software for both descriptive and inferential statistics. Alpha was set at 0.05. The clicker system automatically calculated percentages when the students clicked on the answers.
The results showed that third grade students do have some working knowledge about the topics discussed especially nutrition and physical activity. This demonstrates that the physical education curriculum is establishing a basic knowledge of nutrition and exercise between kindergarten and the 3rd grade. The pre-test to post-test comparison did show that students still had some knowledge base deficits. The pre-test average was 69.81% with a post-test score of 81.37% (p-value < 0.001). The two-tailed paired t-test showed statistical significance between the pre and post-tests. Nine of the ten questions increased in percentage from the pre to post-test. Only question ten, testing knowledge on the food groups, decreased slightly from a 35.14% to 32.91% on the post-test. The greatest percentage change was seen on question five regarding the use of glucose as energy, a 34.72% increase. The program completed by the American Diabetes Association with the College of Nursing at Iowa University cost $4.024 per student. Where as our program utilized materials of the physical education program at the elementary school and cost $0.13 per student.
The positive results of this program demonstrate the value of diabetes education and prevention strategies aimed at younger generations. Programs can be designed to be low cost yet still effective for the students. A program such as this could easily be replicated at elementary schools across the country. An updated program will be repeated in one year with the same students as fourth graders to provide more longitudinal learning opportunities. The hope is this program becomes a part of the school’s curriculum and that pharmacists and student pharmacists can be active members of educating youth to help prevent diabetes.