Poster Topical Area: Nutrition Education and Behavioral Sciences

Location: Auditorium

Poster Board Number: 165

E12-03 - Engaging High School students in a 6-week Metabolic Disease Curriculum increases self-efficacy and perceived ability to seek and understand accurate health information

Sunday, Jun 10
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM


Does engaging high school students in a novel health focused science course lead to improved self-efficacy and perceived ability to seek and understand accurate health information?


The Metabolic Disease curriculum is part of a year-long high school biology course developed by biomedical researchers and high school teachers. The 6-week curriculum includes many topics within nutrition, including food production, metabolism of nutrients, and hunger and satiety hormones. An important element of the curriculum is identifying and evaluating credible sources of nutrition and health information. This novel curriculum emphasizes scientific practices such as data analysis, study design, and critically evaluating research results, as well as real-life scenarios to teach biological principles.

Two high school classrooms participated in this study: a high-performing exam school (n=77), and an urban school serving a diverse population of students (n=15).

Student engagement was measured by a 6-item retrospective pre-post survey that asked students how often and with whom they discussed health information.

Students' self-efficacy to seek and understand accurate health related information was measured via a 9-item retrospective pre-post survey.

In the urban school, students' perceived ability to seek and understand online health information (eHealth Literacy) was measured before and after the course by the eHEALS survey.

Data was analyzed with a paired t-test, or if non-parametric, using a Wilcoxon signed rank test.


Students in both schools had improved self-efficacy (urban school: p=0.0019; exam school: p<0.0001), and increased how often they talked about health information (urban school: p=0.0078; exam school: p<0.0001). The urban school students also had an improvement in their overall eHealth literacy scores (p=0.0078).


After completing a life-relevant course in nutrition and metabolic disease, high school students from two different school types report improvement in their ability to learn about nutrition content, were more engaged with the topic in their community, and had an increase in electronic health literacy. These findings demonstrate that material in the classroom can impact the way students interact with health information.

Funding Source:

This project was supported by a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health through Grant Number R25OD020207

CoAuthors: Berri Jacque – Tufts University

Stephanie Tammen

Program Manager
Tufts University
Boston, Massachusetts