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Shaping Healthy Choices Program Initiated in Riverside

The Issue

The UC Davis’ Center for Nutrition in Schools has created and research-tested the Shaping Healthy Choices Program (SHCP) since 2012. This evidence-based program is a multi-component, school-based intervention addressing the complex issue of behavior change and childhood obesity. In 2016, about 48% of teens in Riverside County were designated obese (highest 5th percentile) and 11% overweight (www.ask.chis.ucla.edu). Recognizing this issue, the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program in Riverside County partnered with two school districts to implement the Shaping Healthy Choices Program.

What Has ANR Done?

To launch this project in 2016-2017, Riverside UC CalFresh was able to obtain additional funds to hire a nutrition educator and received the commitment to participate from two schools: Loma Vista Middle School in Alvord Unified and Nicolet Middle School in Banning Unified. UC CalFresh State Office funded travel for two school teachers to SHCP training in Davis. UC CalFresh Educators teamed up with the teachers to implement weekly lessons from the Discovering Healthy Choices Curriculum and led the students in gardening activities where they planted a cultural garden and harvested vegetables. In addition, the students participated in ‘Cooking Up Healthy Choices’ activities which include five cooking demonstrations throughout the year. The UC CalFresh educators were also active in the School Wellness Committee and helped plan school health fair events that involved family and community partnerships. The SHCP Team at UC Davis provided support throughout and conducted program assessment.

The Payoff

The new program led to a new school garden, increased nutrition knowledge, and enhanced partnerships

The Shaping Healthy Choices Program strengthened UC CalFresh’s partnership with these two schools. The project initiated a new school garden at Nicolet and brought in a UCCE Master Gardener to work with the students. At both schools, the program was implemented during PE class. Nutrition knowledge was assessed pre and post-implementation using a 35-item questionnaire. A total of 66 students completed a pre-assessment and 62 completed a post-assessment. A statistically significant increase in nutrition knowledge was observed from pre-implementation (18.91 ± 4.3 out of 35 total score) to post-implementation (21.13 ± 5.4; p = 0.011).

Clientele Testimonial

"I like that we got to learn many things about food, and healthy choices. And we even got to plant a garden...and (learned) about what is planted in different parts of the world." Ivy Q.

"The thing I liked most was the nice people from the University...Thanks for letting us do this." Ariana C.


Supporting Unit: Riverside County

UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program
Chutima Ganthavorn, NFCS Advisor, cganthavorn@ucanr.edu
Claudia Carlos, UC CalFresh Educator, fcarlos@ucanr.edu
Connie Costello, UC CalFresh Supervisor (retired), clcostello@ucanr.edu
Andra Nicoli, UC CalFresh State Office, amnicoli@ucanr.edu