Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Nutrition


Aydin Nazmi


Background: The rate of overweight and obesity among adolescents aged 12-19 years has quadrupled since 1980. Reducing obesity is a key public health priority, as obesity is associated with individual and population-level health and economic consequences. Afterschool-based obesity prevention programs that aim to develop nutrition and culinary self-efficacy have shown promise. However, the level of aptitude among program instructors is directly correlated with student success, suggesting the importance of effective train-the-trainer (TTT) mechanisms for implementing and scaling up these strategies.

Pink and Dude Chefs (PDC) is an afterschool nutrition education and culinary skills program for middle-school adolescents aged between 11-14 years. The PDC online TTT platform trains lay instructors on program content and preparation, lesson delivery, and classroom and kitchen safety. Trained instructors deliver PDC lessons on topics ranging from macronutrients and USDA MyPlate to knife skills and food preparation. The literature on online TTT models and instructor impact on student outcomes is limited and the PDC online training mechanism has not been evaluated. The current project sought to address these critical gaps with the aim of creating the most effective intervention model.

Methods: This project was implemented in Santa Maria, Guadalupe, and New Cuyama, California from Fall 2015 to Spring 2016. Eleven instructors and 68 middle school students participated and comprehensive surveys were used to evaluate instructor and student outcomes.

Results: Instructors’ performance on all three domains (food and kitchen safety, program knowledge, and overall knowledge) increased following training (45%, 63%, and 53%, respectively), all p≤0.01. Students outcomes (food and kitchen safety, nutrition knowledge, and overall knowledge) also improved following participation (14%, 33%, and 23%, respectively), all p≤0.001. Impact analyses revealed that students with instructors who scored high in overall knowledge performed better than students with low-scoring instructors (p=0.01).

Conclusion: If obesity prevention programs that incorporate online TTT mechanisms, such as PDC, continue to show promising outcomes for both instructors and adolescents, larger scale efforts may contribute to decreasing the public health and economic burdens associated with obesity.

Included in

Nutrition Commons