SNACK: A Team Approach to Increasing Children's Nutritional Knowledge

Sunday, 29 October 2017: 3:05 PM

Tami L. Jakubowski, DNP, RN, CPNP-PC, CSN
Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions, Gwynedd Mercy University, Gwynedd Valley, PA, USA

The Smart Nutrition and Conditioning for Kids (SNACK) program was developed in response to the 2010 Childhood Obesity Study recognizing a 49 percent childhood obesity rate in Trenton, New Jersey. Lifestyle influences contributing to childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes mellitus include poor food choices, inadequate access to healthy foods, decrease in physical activity, and insufficient access to safe play environments. SNACK integrated nutrition lessons to second grade students in an urban and urban rim elementary school during regularly scheduled physical education class. The intervention was performed twice a week in physical education class for eight weeks. Pre and post study nutritional knowledge assessments were completed by each child. Nursing and Health and Exercise Science students developed Nutrition lesson plans to educate the children on healthy eating in a fun, interactive manner during physical education class. Nutrition lessons were designed to provide participants with basic knowledge pertaining to the MyPlate nutritional model. Parents were asked to complete the Pre- and Post-Physical Activity & Nutrition Behaviors Questionnaire. The questionnaire contained information specific to their child’s routine physical activity, screen time, and typical food choices. The CATCH Nutritional Knowledge Survey was used to assess the students’ nutritional knowledge and healthy choices pre- and post-intervention. Each student completed the survey individually as a TCNJ faculty member read the questions aloud. Nutritional knowledge was assessed using 22 items that required students to choose between two pictures and determine the food group, micronutrient, or “GO,” or “WHOA” food. Healthy choices were assessed by prompting students to choose the healthier food choice from two options, using a total of 15 items. CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) Nutritional Knowledge improved overall with the experimental group in both schools (p < .05). The CATCH Healthy Choices (survey) improved with the experimental groups in both schools (p < .05). Smart Nutrition and Conditioning for Kids (SNACK) is one example of an interdisciplinary approach to early intervention that teaches children how to be and stay healthy.