The Comparison of the Knowledge of Fluoride and Fluoridated Water in Public Health Nutrition Students and the General Public
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Background The aim of this study is to compare the knowledge of fluoride and fluoridated water in public health nutrition students and the general public. With evidence showing that high intakes of fluoride can have adverse affects on the human body it is important to have a good knowledge of fluoride sources and the effects fluoride can have. Method The participants consisted of 30 1st, 2nd and 3rd year public health nutrition students and 30 participants from the general public. Each participant completed a questionnaire which consisted of 16 closed questions giving quantitative results and 1 open question giving qualitative results. The quantitative data was analysed using Excel and SPSS and themed analysis was used on the qualitative results. Results There was a 100% response rate from the general public (n=30) and a 70% response rate from the public health nutrition students (n=21). Overall the knowledge of fluoride in both subject groups was low, but the public health nutrition student’s knowledge was generally higher than the general public’s. A higher percentage of public health nutrition students knew that fluoride contained tea, and this was shown to be significant (p=0.03). A higher percentage of public health nutrition students answered “no” to “do you believe it is a good idea to fluoridate the water supply in certain areas?” which was also shown to be significant (p=0.009). Conclusion There is need to improve the knowledge of fluoride in both subject groups. Increasing the knowledge of fluoride in public health nutrition students is important so that they can pass on the knowledge to the general public.
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