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Bountiful Backpacks: The Role of Nutrition Education and Food Preparation Skills in Increasing Food Security & Diet Quality among Limited Resource Families in South Dakota
The Bountiful Backpack Program is a nutrition education and food preparation curriculum for third and fourth grade youth designed to be coupled with foods sent home in a school backpack program. The idea of coupling a prevalent food assistance program (backpacks) with nutrition education and food preparation is innovative and has not been tested for effectiveness or its ability to reduce household food insecurity. Evaluation of the program occurred over a four-year period from 2010–2014 in rural South Dakota school systems with greater than 90% free and reduced lunch participation, and a large enrollment of American Indian youth. The first phase of this project involved the development of the Bountiful Backpack program, which included a process evaluation. While the second and third phases involved testing the efficacy of the intervention on enhancing nutrition knowledge, diet quality, food preparation skills, and household food security among third and fourth grade students and their parents during a regular academic school calendar and summer school setting. The intervention involved both treatment and comparison groups using matched baseline and post-intervention surveys. Self-reported improvements in healthy food availability and fixing their own lunch were reported among youth in the treatment group in both the school and summer school interventions. A decrease in food insecurity among households was not noted post intervention. Qualitative feedback from parents during phase three elicited positive responses regarding program impact on both their children, and their own personal attitudes towards eating healthy and meal preparation. The Bountiful Backpack program is a starting point to introduce the concept of coupling nutrition education programs with backpack programs, particularly with third and fourth grade students and their parents. There is a need for continued research on backpack programs to explore long-term impacts on diet quality and food insecurity, incorporation of traditional foods and/or cultural components for diverse audiences, and to further explore the factors of time and confidence in regards to home food preparation and cooking skills.
Public Health Education|Health sciences|Nutrition
Stluka, Suzanne R, "Bountiful Backpacks: The Role of Nutrition Education and Food Preparation Skills in Increasing Food Security & Diet Quality among Limited Resource Families in South Dakota" (2018). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI10792607.