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The goal of Healthy Schoolhouse 2.0 is to improve health literacy and prevent obesity in elementary school students in Washington, DC.
The first year of a five-year intervention program involves the design and implementation of research, education, and extension activities in two elementary schools. Data were collected in both the experimental and control school, including the use of assessment instruments to measure students’ nutrition literacy and teachers’ self-efficacy and attitudes toward teaching nutrition and the belief about the intersection of health and education. Plate waste data were also collected on students’ fruit and vegetable consumption at both schools.
Findings from year one include no significant differences at baseline between teacher or student demographics and knowledge assessment in the experimental and control settings. Pre-program assessments in teacher attitudes at both experimental and control settings are positive. Food consumption was measured during the lunch period at three time periods.
Fifty one nutrition lessons were taught during the program implementation at the experimental school as a result of the professional development program. A significant difference was observed on student knowledge between the pre-and post-assessment in the experimental school (t (124) = 7.1, P < .001); as well as a significant difference was observed between the experimental and control schools on the post assessment (t (318) = 4.24, P < .001). No differences or changes were noted on the teacher survey in regards to self-efficacy and attitudes toward teaching nutrition. Differences in the food service in each school were observed and will be explored in relation to how the environment affects food consumption.
Conclusion and Implications
Lessons learned include refinement of the approach to the professional development program for teachers later in mid-fall; administering the teacher surveys online; and engaging the teachers with health programming early into the school year.