Journal of Child and Adolescent Health

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Research Article - Journal of Child and Adolescent Health (2021) Volume 5, Issue 4

Efficacy or a Five-Lesson Nutrition Education Curriculum For High School Students Administered Via Pennsylvania Snap-Ed Programming

Background: The Pennylsvania (PA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) provides nutrition education to students in schools where a significant proportion of the students are SNAP eligible. A solid foundation in nutrition knowledge is critical to empower young people to develop lifelong healthy eating patterns and lifestyles. The purpose of this research was to examine the efficacy of a five-lesson high school nutrition curriculum on influencing nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among high school students in Philadelphia, PA.

Methods: SNAP-Ed nutrition educators provided the five-lesson curriculum to students enrolled in 18 PA SNAP-Ed eligible high schools. The modified Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey was used to assess nutrition-related behaviors at baseline (n=1100) and post-intervention (n=972). A curriculum-specific, supplemental questionnaire was added at baseline (n=852) and post-intervention (n=753) in the second and third year of the intervention. The questionnaire was added to assess nutrition knowledge and attitudes. Data were analyzed to determine changes in nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of students after they were exposed to the educational intervention.

Results: After completing the five-lesson curriculum, students reported significant increases in consumption of 100% fruit juice (p=0.0008), non-fried potatoes (p=0.005), carrots (p=0.0360), and milk (p=0.0057), and significant decreases in soda consumption (p=0.0330). Students significantly improved nutrition knowledge and attitudes after completing the intervention (p=0.0002). Specifically, students improved their overall score, as well as in six of the 18 knowledge and attitude questions.

Conclusion: The five-lesson curriculum was effective in improving nutrition-related behaviors, knowledge, and attitudes. This study provides evidence of the success of a nutrition curriculum specific to high school students.

Author(s): Abigail D Gilman, Judith Ensslin, Jessica Cullison, Ann Marsteller, Jennifer Quinlan, Stella L Volpe

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