SNACK: A Collaborative Approach to Improve Children's Fitness and Nutrition

Sunday, 29 October 2017: 2:45 PM

Tracy J. Perron, PhD, RN, CNE, CSN
Department of Nursing, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, USA

The SNACK program, a coordinated school health program, was developed to increase the fitness and health of elementrary school aged children and to encourage parents and teachers to foster healthy food choices. A coordinated school health program incorporating an interprofessional model is desirable to adequately address health and wellness of children. The SNACK program was developed in response to the 2010 Childhood Obesity Study recognizing a 49 percent childhood obesity rate in Trenton New Jersey public schools. Nationally, if incidence rates remain constant, a projection of the number of youths diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes mellitis will increase by 49 percent by 2050. An interprofessional collaborative model (IPC) along with the Coordinated School Health Program provided guidelines for establishing a diverse multidisciplinary group including nurses, classroom and physical education teachers, administrators, college faculty and nursing, health and exercise science undergraduate and graduate students to improve the health of urban/urban rim children. SNACK was implemented to reduce the risks for obesity and Type 2 diabetes in school aged children. Reaching children at an early age before lifestyle choices are formed allows the establishment of healthy behaviors to potentially reduce the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. The engagement of parents to encourage healthy food choices and increase physical activity at home maximized the health benefits to children. The SNACK program collaborative allowed participants the opportunity to share ideas from their discipline with members of the interprofessional team building which positively impacted all participating members. The collaborative developed new and stronger partnerships with urban and urban rim schools. Continued learning, and collaboration with peers was modeled in teams to demonstrate shared competencies in a collaborative practice environment. Intergration of multiple disciplines in a coordinated school health program (CSHP) can be implemented to meet the needs of the whole child and maximize the positive effects on student, schools, and communities while integrating cooperation of multiple disciplines.