Test the Food Hero (FH) social marketing (SM) campaign, “Healthy School Celebrations Teacher Toolkit” (HSC), which is designed to increase healthy food choices offered in Oregon classrooms as part of Oregon State University Extension (OSU-E) SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–Education).
Use of Theory or Research
FH is an evidence-based SM campaign using benchmark criteria and social cognitive and diffusion of innovations theory.
Elementary school teachers (n = 68) in 13 schools with ≥50% United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) free/reduced meals participation during the 2018-19 school year.
In 2016, OSU-E developed HSC to increase healthy food choices offered in classrooms outside the USDA's School Breakfast/Lunch programs. HSC provides numerous teacher resources including comprehensive training, cooking equipment/supplies, parent letters, suggested policy guidelines, recipes, buying guides, and ongoing local OSU-E support.
Teachers attending an initial HSC training were asked to complete a post-HSC 1-page questionnaire at the end of the school year to assess their use of HSC including, recipe/s prepared, kit components most important for achieving healthy celebrations, how much HSC increased their confidence in preparing recipes with students, and their intention to use HSC the following year.
Overall, 73% of the teachers used HSC during the school year (mean = 2.5 times; mean = 26 students/classroom; n ≥ 1,300 students). The recipes teachers used most often were smoothies (51%), especially FH Popeye Power and Peach Carrot smoothies, followed by FH Fruit Pizzas (28%); 91% reported increased confidence in conducting food preparation activities with students. Cooking equipment/supplies and policy guidelines were rated the most important HSC components. Finally, 77% reported they were very/extremely likely to use HSC the following school year.
The HSC is a successful strategy to promote healthy food choices in the classroom. HSC is available via open access through the online FH Community Toolkit.