Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Dietetics and Nutrition

First Advisor's Name

Fatma G. Huffman

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Zisca R. Dixon

Third Advisor's Name

Michele Ciccazzo

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to develop a developmentally appropriate new nutrition education tool, the Rainbow Diet for Children (RDFC), to encourage and aid parents in feeding their children according to current national recommendations. In phase I of the study, the RDFC was developed. Foods were grouped based on color. This grouping provided 11 food groups and foods that provide adequate nutrition for children ages 3-6 years. Using a focus group theoretical diets/foods selections in the RDFC were tested for nutrition adequacy.

Phase II of the study consisted of actual testing of the RDFC with children. Nutrition intervention was given to children at two Montessori Schools in Miami, FL. The RDFC and the Food Guide Pyramid (FGP) were used as nutrition education tools with different groups of children. Children and their parents were encouraged to follow one of the food guides for two weeks. Fifteen healthy children followed the food guides (9 children followed the RDFC and 6 the FGP) while 7 children served as control subjects. Pre and post nutrition analyses were conducted for all three groups.

A pre and post intervention comparison revealed three significant differences. For the FGP group cholesterol intake was significantly (p<0.006) increased and thiamin intake was significantly (p<0.022) decreased. For the control group there was a significant increase (p<0.005) in the vitamin A intake.

For the inter group mean change scores (posttest-pretest) two significant differences were found. First, cholesterol intake in the RDFC was significantly (p<0.045) decreased while for the other two groups it increased significantly. Furthermore, the mean monounsaturated fat intake for the RDFC group significantly decreased (p<0.047) from pre to post, whereas in the other two groups it was increased. These findings support our hypothesis that it is possible to create an alternative meal planning system for 3 to 6 year old children. The RDFC group had adequate nutritional intake while following the rainbow diet meal plan.




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