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P125 Online Nutrition Curriculum Improves Middle School Students’ Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Practices

      Objective

      To evaluate the improvement in nutrition, food safety, food resource management, and physical activity practices among youth participating in an online nutrition education series.

      Use of Theory or Research

      Previous evaluation studies of the goal-oriented EatFit curriculum demonstrated positive behavior change outcomes when delivered in person. Pivoting to remote programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic presented an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of an online version of the curriculum.

      Target Audience

      Middle school students enrolled in the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in Contra Costa County, California

      Program Description

      During FFY21, a nutrition educator implemented an online version of the EatFit curriculum. Six lessons were adapted for remote delivery and included activities focused on MyPlate, the nutrition facts label, hydration, fast food, physical activity, and goal setting. Students worked to accomplish their eating and fitness goals each week. The engaging video lessons were delivered asynchronously through a learning management system. To interact with the students the nutrition educator provided each class with a live Zoom introductory and review session.

      Evaluation Methods

      Students completed an online version of the EFNEP 6th-8th grade pre-post Nutrition Education Survey and provided responses to an open-ended question about the online lessons. Pre-post analyses were completed using the Web-Based Nutrition Education Evaluation and Reporting System (WebNEERS).

      Results

      In total, 855 students received the online lessons, and 284 students completed the pre-post surveys. The majority of students identified as Hispanic. Differences in the pre-to-post scores indicated improvement in desired behaviors: 88% of students improved their diet quality, 51% improved food safety practices, 49% improved food resource management practices, and 71% improved physical activity practices. Students described specific behaviors they adopted and enjoyable aspects of the online lessons.

      Conclusions

      The online goal-oriented EatFit lessons provided middle school students with the knowledge and skills to improve their nutrition, food safety, food resource management, and physical activity practices and is an alternative delivery method to consider in post-pandemic programming.

      Funding

      NIFA

      SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

      Supplementary data related to this article can be found at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2022.04.166.

      Appendix. SUPPLEMENTARY DATA