Background: Pregnant women and the very young are among those most susceptible to foodborne infections and at high risk of a severe outcome from foodborne infections.
Objective: To determine if interactive multimedia is a more effective method than pamphlets for delivering food safety education to Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clients.
Design: A randomized controlled trial of WIC clients was conducted. Self-reported food safety practices were compared between pre- and postintervention questionnaires completed >or=2 months after the intervention.
Subjects/setting: Pregnant WIC clients or female caregivers (usually mothers) of WIC clients who were 18 years of age or older and able to speak and read English were recruited from an inner-city WIC clinic.
Intervention: Participants were randomized to receive food safety pamphlets or complete an interactive multimedia food safety education program on a computer kiosk.
Main outcome measures: Change from pre- to postintervention food safety scores.
Statistical analyses performed: A mean food safety score was determined for each participant for the pre- and postintervention questionnaires. The scores were used in a two-group repeated measures analysis of variance.
Results: Of the 394 participants, 255 (64.7%) completed the postintervention questionnaire. Satisfaction with the program was high especially among those with no education beyond high school. When considering a repeated measures analysis of variance model with the two fixed between-subject effects of group and age, a larger improvement in score in the interactive multimedia group than in the pamphlet group (P=0.005) was found, but the size of the group effect was small (partial eta(2)=0.033). Women aged 35 years or older in the interactive multimedia group had the largest increase in score.
Conclusions: The interactive multimedia was well-accepted and resulted in improved self-reported food safety practices, suggesting that interactive multimedia is an effective option for food safety education in WIC clinics.