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Expansion of the Shaping Healthy Choices Program through UC CalFresh

The Issue

The health of California’s youth is a critical issue for the state and nation. The high rates of childhood obesity concomitant with reports that youth are not meeting dietary recommendations, point to the need for effective interventions and educational programs. In experimental studies, the Shaping Healthy Choices Program, a comprehensive nutrition program, demonstrated positive impacts on children’s health. Programs like these must be delivered effectively in order to make an impact. High fidelity of curriculum delivery and program procedures, meaning educators deliver the content of the curriculum in the same way that they were designed to be used, has been associated with improved student outcomes. Therefore, comprehensive programs should also focus on continuing professional development for educators.

What Has ANR Done?

The Shaping Healthy Choices Program was developed and evaluated through funding from an ANR competitive grant in 2011. During the 2014-2015 academic year, the SHCP was expanded using the UC CalFresh-UCCE partnership in several California counties, including Placer County, Butte County, and Santa Barbara County. Staff in participating counties attended comprehensive training through a series of workshops and webinars, totaling over 30 hours of training. The first workshop provided an overview of the program components and time for county teams to work together to generate ideas of how to implement the program in their communities. The second workshop focused on developing the skills to apply the learner-centered, inquiry-based pedagogy while delivering nutrition education. Throughout the duration of the 2014- 2015 implementation period, county teams received ongoing support through weekly meetings and discussion-based webinars.

The Payoff

Fidelity supports program success

Fidelity to the SHCP curriculum aligned closely with improvements in nutrition knowledge. When results are combined from all counties, there is 85.5% fidelity. The combined results of the change in nutrition knowledge, demonstrate a significant improvement from pre-implementation to post-implementation. Additionally, there was a significant improvement in the ability to identify vegetables from pre-implementation to post-implementation. In contrast, when fidelity and outcome results are separated by county, the two counties with the highest fidelity (80.2% and 95.5 %), saw significant improvements, but the students in the county with the lowest fidelity (75.8%) did not improve significantly. Specific county successes included a community-driven garden build day, a highly-attended community health fair, and the establishment of an active Student Nutrition Advisory Council that created signage for the lunchroom to promote healthy lunch menu items. Results demonstrate that fidelity to curriculum procedures is a critical component for program success.


Supporting Unit: Nutrition

Department of Nutrition, UC Davis; UC CalFresh; UCCE Placer/Nevada; UCCE Butte Cluster; UCCE Santa Barabara/San Luis Obispo
Rachel E. Scherr, rescherr@ucdavis.edu 530-752-3817; Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, sazidenbergcherr@ucdavis.edu 530-752-3817; Jessica Linnell, Jessica.Linnell@oregonstate.edu, Jacqueline Bergman, jjbergman@ucdavis.edu