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College of Health Sciences Student Chosen for Distinguished Thesis Award

Alicia Anderson, May 2016 Master of Health Science graduate, submitted her thesis, “Short-term Outcome Evaluation of Healthy Habits, Healthy U: A School-based Cancer Prevention Program” and it has been selected for the 2016-2017 Boise State University Distinguished Thesis Award in a non-STEM discipline.

Each year Boise State celebrates the outstanding accomplishments of students enrolled in  master’s programs by encouraging all graduate programs to submit nominations for the Distinguished Thesis Award.

The purpose of Anderson’s  study was to establish efficacy in the Healthy Habits, Healthy U (HHHU) program by evaluating the short-term outcomes. The study evaluated the effectiveness of the program on students’ knowledge about cancer, how their health habits (nutrition, physical activity, and sugar-sweetened beverages) can increase or decrease the risk of developing cancer, as well as how to establish behavioral intent.

Results of the study indicate that the HHHU program increases students’ knowledge related to how their health habits (nutrition, physical activity, and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages) increase or decrease the risk of developing cancer. However, the program did not increase general cancer knowledge, or improve students’ skills in establishing behavioral intent. This preliminary study of the short-term outcomes of the HHHU program indicates that the program is effective in increasing knowledge. Further research is necessary to show the total effectiveness of the program and to establish efficacy.

“I am extremely proud of Ms. Anderson’s efforts to promote lifelong health to secondary school students. I am confident that the lessons learned through Ms. Anderson’s research will have positive impacts on the health of our future generations,” said Dale Stephenson, director of the School of Allied Health Sciences.

Since 2008, the Graduate College has recognized the achievements of Boise State University graduate students with the Distinguished Thesis Award. The award is based upon four criteria: originality, significance, quality and outcomes. Award winners also are the university’s nominees for the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award competition.

Anderson’s  nomination materials have also been submitted to the Western Association of Graduate Schools as the only Boise State entry for their annual Distinguished Thesis Award in a non-STEM discipline.

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