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Pilot Study: EatFit Impacts Sixth Graders' Academic Performance on Achievement of Mathematics and English Education Standards

      Abstract

      Objective

      Investigate the impact of a nutrition education program on student academic performance as measured by achievement of education standards.

      Design

      Quasi-experimental crossover-controlled study.

      Setting

      California Central Valley suburban elementary school (58% qualified for free or reduced-priced lunch).

      Participants

      All sixth-grade students (n = 84) in the elementary school clustered in 3 classrooms.

      Intervention

      9-lesson intervention with an emphasis on guided goal setting and driven by the Social Cognitive Theory.

      Main Outcome Measure

      Multiple-choice survey assessing 5 education standards for sixth-grade mathematics and English at 3 time points: baseline (T1), 5 weeks (T2), and 10 weeks (T3).

      Analysis

      Repeated measures, paired t test, and analysis of covariance.

      Results

      Changes in total scores were statistically different (P < .05), with treatment scores (T3 - T2) generating more gains. The change scores for 1 English (P < .01) and 2 mathematics standards (P < .05; P < .001) were statistically greater for the treatment period (T3 - T2) compared to the control period (T2 - T1).

      Conclusion and Implications

      Using standardized tests, results of this pilot study suggest that EatFit can improve academic performance measured by achievement of specific mathematics and English education standards. Nutrition educators can show school administrators and wellness committee members that this program can positively impact academic performance, concomitant to its primary objective of promoting healthful eating and physical activity.

      Key Words

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      3. California Department of Education. California State Board of Education Content Standards. Available at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/. Accessed January 7, 2009.

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