After the BSc Nutrition and Health Carlijn van Seggelen continued her education by joining the MSc Nutrition and Health, in which she followed the specialisation Nutritional and Public Health Epidemiology. She will tell you about her MSc thesis.
"In the second year of the MSc Nutrition and Health you have to do your individual research project, also known as the MSc thesis. I conducted my thesis at the “landelijk steunpunt Smaaklessen” (national support centre Taste Lessons) in Wageningen. 'Taste Lessons' is a Dutch educational programme for primary school children with the aim of stimulating interest in healthy and sustainable food. Children learn which food is healthy, they experience food with different tastes and they learn how to cook."
"My assignment was to evaluate the Taste Lessons for two primary school groups. With a fellow student, who evaluated 2 other groups, I have developed questionnaires and distributed these to schools where Taste Lessons were already included in the curriculum and to schools were they were not yet included. We then analysed whether children who had followed the Taste Lessons were open to tasting more unfamiliar products and if they had developed more knowledge and skills about food."
"In the beginning we consulted several supervisors and teachers, since the Taste Lessons were new. Subsequently, we developed a questionnaire and took interviews at 12 primary schools. The recruitment of these schools was quite a job! We devoted the last months to data analysis and report writing. Regarding the results, we could demonstrate that the Taste Lessons had a positive influence on the children, but we couldn’t collect solid evidence. This is unfortunate, but at least we set a good fundament for further research. A subsidy for follow-up research has been requested based on our results and... has been granted. Recently, new students started their MSc thesis on this topic, making generous use of our work. Frankly, I am very proud that I was the first student to evaluate the Taste Lessons."
"Within the MSc Nutrition and Health I followed the specialisation Nutritional and Public Health Epidemiology. Within this specialisation, I completed several statistical courses, which made the data analysis of my MSc thesis easier. Also I could make good use of the acquired knowledge and skills of my communication courses for the development of the questionnaires. It was nice to translate scientific literature to simple questionnaires for children. All these years I have been reading the theory, for example that I should use a maximum of 3 answer categories for children, but only once I was in a primary school classroom that information started to come alive."
"After graduation in the MSc Nutrition and Health I would like to link science and practice in the field of health in general, and focus not only on nutrition but also on other lifestyle factors. The Netherlands has many partnerships between universities and institutions. Lifestyle interventions and programmes must be well supported and developed with scientific knowledge. And at the other hand evaluations must be carried out in the right way in order to determine whether the intervention has been successful. This I would like to focus on in my future career."