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Faculty Mentor

Shelly Brandenburger

Abstract

Childhood obesity rates in the United States are alarming. Interventions incorporating nutrition education and physical activity are important for initiating behavior changes that may reduce the risk of childhood obesity and future health complications. The availability of nutrition curriculum for use in a second grade audience is limited. For this project, a nutrition education curriculum for second grade students was developed and tested over a two-week period in the fall of 2013. Six second grade classrooms (N=118) received four 20-minute interactive nutrition lessons. Lesson topics included: My Plate, Handy Portions, Sugar Shockers, and MyTray. Pre and post assessments of nutrition knowledge were used to determine the effectiveness of the nutrition education. Overall, there was an increase in the number of correct survey responses recorded following the nutrition education. By category, there were increases in the students’ ability to identify healthy snacks, grains, dairy products, and protein sources, but not fruits and vegetables. Further development and testing of innovative nutrition education curriculum for the second grade audience is an important step in establishing the knowledge to influence lifelong behavior changes that could reduce future risk of obesity.

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