Step up MyPyramid – comparing teaching methods for limited resource elementary school children: a pilot study

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sarah Hazlegrove (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Lauren Haldeman

Abstract: School based nutrition interventions have been shown to improve nutrition behaviors among elementary school-aged children; however, limited research has been done in low- income, ethnically diverse schools. Utilizing constructs from the Social Cognitive Theory (outcome expectancies/ expectations, self-efficacy, sociocultural factors), a randomized school trial was designed to pilot test methods for teaching third through fifth graders to utilize MyPyramid to increase: nutrition knowledge; fruit and vegetable, low-fat dairy and whole grain consumption; physical activity; and positive attitudes about nutrition and physical activity. Participating schools were low-income with high percentages of Latino and African American students. Students ranged in age from 9-11 years. Preliminary data collected from two schools (N= 27 students) guided the intervention development. Elementary schools (N=5) were randomized into intervention and control schools and administered pre- and post-tests. Students (N=49) in intervention classrooms received six 1-hour classes on MyPyramid conducted by a nutrition professional. Lessons were adapted for cultural differences and socioeconomic status using the teacher curricula provided by the MyPyramid website. Controls (N=39) received MyPyramid written materials only. Nutrition knowledge score for intervention students significantly increased from 5.474 to 8.018 as did controls from 7.353 to 8.772. Correct responses for daily recommended dairy servings increased from 45% to 65% in intervention students. No significant changes in behavior were observed. Challenges included lack of parental consent forms, and classrooms with varying levels of language and reading comprehension, and behavioral problems. Adapted MyPyramid in-class lessons appear to have a positive impact on nutrition knowledge among low-income, diverse elementary school students; however, more research is needed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Elementary schools, Children, Low-income, MyPyramid, Nutrition, Nutrition education
Nutrition $x Study and teaching (Primary) $z United States.
Poor children $x Education.
Education, Elementary.

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