Abstract| Volume 45, ISSUE 4, SUPPLEMENT , S2, July 2013

Sustainable Me! Engaging Middle School Students


      Conduct a highly interactive in-school event for students in grades 5-8 that focuses on sustainable: personal and community health, personal and global environment, personal relationships, local foods, and personal finances.

      Target audience

      Middle school students in grades 5 to 8 in New Jersey.

      Theory, Prior Research, Rationale

      The CDC identified several key behaviors to prevent obesity, including increasing intake of fruits/vegetables and increasing physical activity. Community agencies and nutrition educators can find middle school students difficult to engage in nutrition/health related programs.


      A group of committed community collaborators joined forces to tackle the sustainability issues, health, environment, personal relationships, local foods, and finances, by interacting students with a variety of community health agencies. Sustainable Me encourages action about sustaining wellness for students, grades 5 to 8.


      1,115 students in grades 5 to 8 in 9 schools participated in a pre-survey (3-5 days prior to event) and a follow-up survey (2 weeks after then event). The in-school event includes 60 minutes of targeted mini-lessons appropriate for students. Follow-up survey data (n=940 students): 75% reduced bullying 54% recycled more often 45% changed behavior to prevent disease 37% increased consumption of fruits & vegetables 24% increased practice of personal safety Additional writing activity assignment: Design your personal plan to sustain good health and a healthy environment.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Sustainable Me can be replicated by nutrition educators. Collaboration with a group of local health-related agencies is essential for a successful event. Students can be successfully engaged in a highly active, educational setting.