Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Science

Committee Chair/Advisor

Fraser, Angela

Committee Member

Haliena , Rita

Committee Member

Jesch , Elliot


Due to their limited resources, rural, older adults in the United States are at risk for poor diet-related health outcomes. Nutrition education is a key component in improving health outcomes in older adults. Cooking Healthy, Eating Smart (CHES) is a nine-lesson curriculum designed to teach rural, older adults culturally appropriate nutrition and food safety information. Funding to hire health professionals to deliver such a curriculum is limited, presenting the need to explore a less expensive mode of dissemination. In this community-based, participatory research study, a formative evaluation and feasibility study were conducted to examine the use of volunteers to deliver a nutrition and food safety curriculum to rural, older adults in South Carolina. Seven focus groups were conducted with members of the South Carolina Family and Community Leaders (SCFCL) and members of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in the four regions of South Carolina to explore barriers and facilitators of volunteers delivering CHES (N=65 participants). The focus group findings informed the development of the volunteer training manual. A comparative case study method was used to examine the feasibility of a volunteer-based approach by observing and describing the delivery of CHES by two groups of volunteers in SC. The case study findings, including volunteer knowledge change, self-efficacy change, curriculum experience, program experience, and project team observations of volunteers indicated that using volunteers to deliver CHES is a plausible approach with the assistance of paid staff or project team members.



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