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FSNEP helps children learn about food

The Issue

Research has shown that children's diets tend to be high in sugar and fat and lack fruits and vegetables. They also have limited daily physical activity. Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity can put children at risk for obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Nutrition education can increase their knowledge and provide new skills to promote good nutrition and exercise.

What Has ANR Done?

Through collaborations with schools, the UC Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program (UC-FSNEP) trains teachers to provide instruction with hands-on activities using "Reading Across MyPyramid," a nutrition curriculum for kindergarten to third-grade youth. The lessons' goals are to help children make healthy food choices by developing positive attitudes about food, good health and nutrition habits. This curriculum had been widely used in Tehama and Glenn counties; 63 teachers reached over 1,500 children in 2007-08.

In 2007, nine primary teachers at two elementary schools administered pre- and post-quizzes to assess the first and second grade students' knowledge about the MyPyramid food groups, food safety and physical activity. Between testing, 169 students participated in an average of six hours of Reading Across MyPyramid lessons.

The Payoff

Children improve food knowledge through UC-FSNEP lessons

Overall, there was a 15 percent increase in knowledge from pre-test, for which the average score was 47 percent, to post-test, for which the average was 62 percent. The percentage of children answering correctly increased for all 20 questions. The knowledge that increased the most dealt with understanding the heart, proper storage of milk, how germs are spread, dancing is exercise, drink soda less often, and beans come from plants but are in the meat group. Students were less likely to improve scores on questions that asked them to identify foods that are good sources of calcium and foods from the grain and vegetable groups, and how to plan meals using MyPyramid.

Clientele Testimonial

Teachers say that the UC-FSNEP program is a reminder for them to follow healthy habits and model them to their students.


Supporting Unit: Tehama County

Jeanne George, (530) 527-3101, jlgeorge@ucdavis.edu