Healthy Schools Healthy Students: Evaluation Results and Recommendations
In general, Americans of all ages do not adhere to dietary recommendations, including increasing fruit, vegetable, and whole grain consumption and limiting foods such as added sugar. Nutrition interventions, particularly those targeting children, are needed to improve dietary intake and increase overall health. While the nutrition requirements included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 have improved the content of school meals, plate waste studies indicate that further interventions are needed to ensure students not only have access to healthy foods, but that students are consuming nutritious meals to reach dietary recommendations. Nutrition interventions delivered in schools have the potential to have a large impact. This is due to schools’ ability to reach many children, the schools’ role in providing meals and supporting proper nutrition through education, and the ability to manipulate multiple factors in the school environment to promote healthy eating.
Nutrition interventions targeting children are needed to establish healthy eating habits early in life, prevent later health issues due to poor dietary intake, and improve population health. However, more research is needed to examine their effectiveness and determine which methods are most appropriate.
The aim of this project was to implement a multi-component intervention in schools to improve 4th grade students’ nutrition knowledge, attitudes towards fruits and vegetables, preferences for fruits and vegetables, and awareness of MyPlate.