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Why and How Schools Make Nutrition Education Programs “Work”

10 Dec 2017

ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND

There are many potential health benefits to having nutrition education programs offered by expert outside sources in schools. However, little is known about why and how schools initiate, implement, and institutionalize them. Gaining this understanding may allow the impact and reach of nutrition and other health education programs in schools to be extended.

METHODS

A total of 22 school community members from 21 purposefully selected New York City public elementary schools were interviewed using a semistructured interview protocol about their schools' experiences initiating, implementing, and institutionalizing nutrition education programs. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Chronological narratives were written detailing each school's experience and passages highlighting key aspects of each school's experience were identified. These passages (N = 266) were sorted into domains and themes which were regrouped, resorted, and adjusted until all researchers agreed the domains and themes represented the collective experiences of the schools.

RESULTS

The interviews elicited 4 broad domains of action: building motivation, choosing programs, developing capacity, and legitimizing nutrition education. Within each domain, themes reflecting specific actions and thoughts emerged.

CONCLUSIONS

The identified domains of action and their themes highlight specific, practical actions that school health advocates can use to initiate, implement, and institutionalize nutrition education programs in schools.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Journal of School Health