Date of this Version
Maloy, R. (2019). The Development and Implementation of “Mission Nutrition”: An After-School Nutrition Education Program for Youth Grades Kindergarten through Fifth. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Childhood overweight, obesity, and food insecurity are serious problems that are especially prevalent in low-income areas. Belmont Elementary School serves many children from low-income households (classified as a Title I school with 82.6% of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch) and, thus, was a perfect setting for the birth of an original nutrition curriculum.
A six-week after-school nutrition education program called “Mission Nutrition” was developed and implemented at Belmont Elementary School over the course of three and a half years. While originally designed for third through fifth grade students, the program was adapted for kindergarten, first, and second grade students as well. Using qualitative and quantitative feedback, Mission Nutrition was evaluated and modified to adapt to students’ interests and abilities. Although no direct feedback was acquired regarding knowledge gained, self-reports of changes in eating practices were analyzed. It was found that approximately 45% of participants stated they, or their family, changed their eating habits because of information learned in Mission Nutrition.
In this Honors Thesis, the process of creation, application, and evaluation of nutrition curricula are described for two age groups: kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grade.