Focus groups: their role in developing calcium‐related education materials

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Because attitudes concerning a topic can diminish the effectiveness of educational materials, previously identified attitudes concerning calcium intake were explored through focus group interviews during the developmental stages of calcium education materials. Although four focus groups of six to seven participants were planned, each of the four groups consisted of two to six women. All focus groups followed the same format, lasting for 60–90 min; questions progressed from the general to more specific. The focus groups revealed several attitudinal barriers toward dietary behavioural change, including lack of prior interest in the topic and lack of time. Attitudes about dairy calcium included the belief that dairy foods were high in fat and should be avoided, and the belief that dairy foods would cause stomach upsets. Also, neither younger nor older women felt that osteoporosis was a problem their age group needed to address. Readability scales were not necessarily predictive of preference. This study shows that focus group interviews make a valuable contribution to planning and evaluating nutrition education materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-367
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1995


  • attitudes
  • calcium
  • dairv foods
  • focus groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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