Report of international distance learning for nutritional education between Japanese and Thai schoolchildren using HyperMirror

    Department of Food Sciences and Nutritional Health, Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Kyoto Prefectural University, Japan
  • IMAI Ako
    Faculty of Education, Gifu University, Japan
  • MUTO Shimako
    Health Information Science, Kagawa Nutrition University, Japan
  • FUJIKURA Junko
    Health Information Science, Kagawa Nutrition University, Japan
    Department of Food and Nutrition, Nippon University Junior College, Japan
  • MAESAKO Takanori
    Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Japan
  • SHIGETA Katsusuke
    Information Initiative Center, Media Education, Institute for the Advancement of Higher Education, Hokkaido University, Japan
  • NAKAZAWA Akiko
    Center for Research and Development of Higher Education, The University of Tokyo, Japan
  • OKUBAYASHI Taiichiro
    Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Japan
  • ZAORSKI Spence W.
    Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Japan
  • MATSUKAWA Hideya
    Institute for Excellence in Higher Education, Tohoku University, Japan
  • MORIKAWA Osamu
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, Yamaguchi University, Japan
    Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

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<p>We evaluated the effects of a nutrition education program using HyperMirror, a video-mediated communication system, on the acquisition of appropriate food and dietary choice skills among Japanese and Thai schoolchildren, and the applicability of HyperMirror for a nutrition education program. HyperMirror uses composite video images and mirrored self-images to make geographically remote individuals feel as if they are in the same room.</p><p>The nutrition program, assessed using a pre-post study design, was conducted in 2006 (wherein the target was food choices based on food groups) and 2007 (wherein the target was planning a well-balanced breakfast). Periodic newsletters were distributed between the yearly sessions to ensure knowledge retention. Subjects were students (aged 9-10 years in 2006) from urban areas of Japan (n=70) and Thailand (n=21) who participated in both the lectures in 2006 and 2007.</p><p>The study environment was evaluated after every year’s distance lecture.</p><p>We also assessed program impact in terms of changes in nutritional knowledge, attitudes and behaviors towards appropriate food and dietary choice. The following behavioral objectives were assessed; (1) making appropriate diet choices, (2) understanding and being interested in foreign dietary/food cultures, and (3) being concerned about their own nutrition after three weeks of distance learning in 2007.</p><p>The mean study environment scores were high overall for both sessions (3.8 for Japanese students, 4.4 for Thai), and changes in nutritional knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors were observed. Over 50% of Japanese and Thai students agreed on behavioral objective (1), while agreement rates for behavioral objectives (2) and (3) were greater among Thai than among Japanese students, partly because the periodical newsletters helped maintain students’ learning interest and retention. Our study showed that a distance-learning nutritional education program using HyperMirror effectively induced behavioral channges and improved knowledge of food culture. We also confirmed HyperMirror’s applicability to such programs.</p>



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