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FP5 Lessons Learned From the Healthy Schools Healthy Students Project: Strategies to Improve Future Team Nutrition Interventions

      Objective

      To determine the success and challenges encountered when implementing the Healthy Schools, Healthy Students (HSHS) intervention.

      Description

      HSHS was a multi-component nutrition intervention targeting 4th grade students focused on improving nutrition knowledge, MyPlate awareness, and fruit and vegetable attitudes and preferences. The project included classroom-based nutrition education, cafeteria coaching with older students, and taste tests with 606 students in 10 schools.

      Evaluation

      As part of a larger mixed methods evaluation, we conducted in-depth interviews with project stakeholders and nutrition educators, along with focus groups of cafeteria coaches. We also visited schools to conduct fidelity checks. These data collections sought to determine what worked, what did not work, and what recommendations participants would have for future interventions. While all participants described the project as successful and did not state major implementation challenges, they described ways the intervention could have been improved. Project stakeholders stated that more communication and technical assistance, particularly before the project, would have been helpful. Nutrition educators stated that the lessons had too much content for the allotted time and that some activities (i.e. sing-along songs) were not age appropriate. Cafeteria coaches requested more training and technical assistance. Nutrition lessons were generally implemented as planned, but often did not include all activities, as discussed in the interviews. All schools implemented at least one of the strategies required for the cafeteria coaching component, but differences made comparisons between schools difficult.

      Conclusions and Implications

      The process evaluation of the HSHS intervention provides future Team Nutrition grantees and others working to improve school-based interventions with important factors to consider when planning and implementing school-based nutrition education interventions.
      Grant Year: 2016

      Appendix. Supplementary data