An analysis of immediate comprehension when breastfeeding education is offered in either of two methods: poster display or lecture
Stoeberl, Marsha J. C.
University of Wisconsin--Stout
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The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has mandated nutrition education as an important part of its services. In the early years after WIC’s inception, education was often by classes. In recent years, education by poster display has increased at WIC. Both WIC staff and WIC clients like the informality and less time consuming qualities of education by poster display. Breastfeeding education is one type of nutrition education offered by WIC nutritionists. Breastfeeding initiation is less likely to occur for women of lower socioeconomic status than the population in general. Breastfeeding education has been shown to increase the incidence and duration of breastfeeding. Breastfed infants, in general, are healthier with fewer illnesses and less severe illnesses than artificially fed infants. A large cost savings to society can be realized when babies are breastfed, not only in health care, but also in the cost of formula purchased by the USDA for WIC. The purpose of this research was to determine if a difference in immediate comprehension occurred when subjects were presented with breastfeeding education in either of two ways: a poster display or a classroom lecture with overhead transparencies. The main topic of the education was reasons why women stop breastfeeding early. Subtopics addressed returning to work or school, sore nipples and perceived milk insufficiency. A pilot study with WIC clients was carried out to determine use-ability of the materials and for experience with the logistics of the study. The actual study was conducted at four sites with a total of 73 subjects, 43 in the poster display method and 30 in the classroom method. Participants were from two WIC projects in Western Wisconsin, a childbirth class at a small medical center, and members of a high school Early Headstart School age Parents group. Targeted were women of childbearing years, however, nine subjects were male. Demographic and breastfeeding experience and attitude questions were asked of the subjects through a demographic/consent form. Based on demographic data, the two WIC sites were found to be homogeneous, so were combined into one site for data analysis. Following the presentation of the breastfeeding education which was identical in every way except the method in which it was presented, subjects answered a short quiz on the evaluation instrument. Data were analyzed for overall scores by site of data collection and method of breastfeeding education as well as by individual questions. A significant difference in score was found by method of breastfeeding education, but not by site of data collection. Those who attended the class lecture had significantly higher scores, overall, than those who viewed the poster display. Although differences in scores were significant, the practical significance is questionable. Subjects who viewed the poster display method of breastfeeding education still did well on the quiz overall. Results of this research may indicate poster education to be effective in the WIC setting. Further research is needed to determine an effect on true learning and if behavior change occurs as a result of the education.