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Broader Implications of Nutrition Education on High School Success Markers

      Objective

      To explore the impact of out-of-school-time nutrition education on markers of academic success by considering students’ attendance, days tardy, and GPA.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants, Intervention

      As part of the Growing Together Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), students from William L. Sayre and Paul Robeson High Schools participated in group nutrition education 15 hours per week in the after-school setting with a community service component. Both of these School District of Philadelphia schools are in communities that experience high rates of poverty, violence, and chronic disease.

      Outcome Measures and Analysis

      GPA, days absent, and days tardy between September 7, 2016 and February 6, 2017 were analyzed and averaged using report cards of 23 students from Sayre and 18 students from Robeson. Data for the student body was provided by administrative staff at each school. The results reflect the different methods used by schools to collect data.

      Results

      On average, YEP Sayre students were present 86% of days and tardy 23.3%; this compares to Sayre's average attendance rates of 53% of students present and 23.2% tardy. YEP Robeson students missed an average of 6.1 days and were tardy 3.8 days compared to 7.05 days absent and 2.87 days tardy. GPA comparison data was only available at Robeson with YEP students averaging 2.4 and all students averaging 2.35.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Nutrition education is often ancillary to high school curriculum. This study demonstrates that nutrition education can have broader impacts when compared to students not in the program, particularly around the development of 21st Century Skills. This has implications for developing programs aimed at improving outcomes for high school students in under-resourced urban areas.

      Funding

      Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education, Office of Minority Health

      Supplementary data