Graduate Program

Nutrition and Dietetics

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion

Fall 2020

Thesis Director

Krystal L. Lynch

Thesis Committee Member

Tamatha (Lisa) L. Brooks

Thesis Committee Member

Lauri J. DeRuiter-Willems


Nutrition education in school can provide students with the knowledge and skills to improve their eating behavior and overall health. This study aimed to evaluate the content of school wellness policies and understand teacher perspectives about teaching nutrition education at their schools in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In 2020, electronic surveys were used to evaluate the wellness policies in 11 elementary all-female government schools and teachers’ perspectives about the nutrition education offered in three elementary all-female government schools. Sixty-one teachers and eleven principals participated in this study. Fisher’s exact tests were used to test the differences between teachers’ perspectives and their confidence level and characteristics. A p-value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results showed that most schools (N=10) have a formal school wellness policy that provides a healthy environment for students and ensures facilitate their access to healthy eating and exercise. Many teachers (55.2%) agreed that there are adequate resources are available to them to teach nutrition in the schools, and (58.6%) of them agreed that they have had adequate training from qualified people on nutrition education. Most teachers (94.7%) were confident in teaching nutrition and physical activity to their students. Teachers between 30-50 years of age were more interested in teaching nutrition than teachers whose age is more than 50 years old (P < 0.05). In summary, schools operated very efficiently to offer nutritional education for students, and most teachers are confident and interested in teaching nutrition. There is a need for further studies investigating nutrition education in schools in Saudi Arabia.