Nutrition education curriculum: healthy eating summer camp for kids, a pilot program

Due to the alarming increase of childhood obesity, its related medical conditions, and complications of treatments options, the importance and need for preventive measures is evident. Nutrition education, utilized as an early intervention tool, can be beneficial in preventing childhood obesity. The purpose of this graduate project was to develop a pilot program that included nutrition lessons, physical activity, and cooking sessions to provide a curriculum for children ages 8-to-11 years old, in the hope of increasing nutrition knowledge that may help improve their lifestyle habits. The Healthy Eating Summer Camp for Kids was implemented through the Summer Academic Program for Elementary School Students (SAPESS) on California State University, Northridge campus. The curriculum included lesson plans, cooking sessions and physical activity, which were tailored to each food group of the Food Guide Pyramid for each week of the five week long course. The three learning theories, cognitivism [cognitive], humanism [affective], and behaviorism [psycho-motor] were implemented throughout the course. The same pre- and post-tests were administered to evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum regarding students' nutrition knowledge status. This project was successful in evaluating the effectiveness of the nutrition education component of the curriculum. Knowledge was most increased regarding the students' ability to identify the different types of dairy, to recall specific foods in the grain group that were emphasized in the curriculum, and the appropriate daily intake of foods in the grain group. Conclusions regarding the impact of the physical activity and cooking session components of the program on students' knowledge cannot be made at this time, as they were not evaluated.

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