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November 21, 2019 - FoodWIse Education Motivates Oneida Youth to Drink Fewer Sugary Beverages and Eat More Veggies!

FoodWIse partners with the Oneida school district to deliver Nutrition education that promotes behavior change in a variety of settings and grades.   A total of nine classroom series with five lesson each were provided in classrooms and summer school.  Programs were taught with pre-school children and their parents, third, fifth and eighth grade students during the school year and with grades three and four during summer.
 
Preschool children used their senses of touch, sound, sight, smell, and taste to learn that healthy eating and physical activity are fun. One parent commented on a post parent survey that, “Her daughter asked her brother to try things every time and maybe he'll like it.” Another parent mentioned that their child “helps them cook.”
 
Parents of the preschool children also attended nutrition lessons while their children were in class. Parents learned strategies to help their preschool-aged children learn to enjoy healthy foods, as well as to impact their own eating habits. Emphasis was placed on helping parents with their picky eaters and how to incorporate fruits and vegetables into meals and snacks.
 
Students in third grade learned about eating from all five food groups using a variety of hands on activities and the MyPlate icon that shows fruits, veggies, grains, protein and dairy foods.
 
Fifth grade students learned about the health benefits of eating more whole foods, fewer processed foods and how to navigate through the food environment.  This also included how to become a “real food” advocate to create positive change.  After understanding the difference between whole and processed foods, they created goals to decrease how much processed food they eat.
 
Students in the 8th grade developed self-sufficiency skills in the kitchen that encourage healthy habits for life. They used hands on cooking skills to complete recipes and enjoyed eating their healthy creations at the end of each class. Healthy eating topics included reading nutrition labels, and decreasing consumption of high fat foods and sugary beverages.
 
Summer School 3rd and 4th grade students learned how growing a healthy garden relates to growing a healthy body. They also taste a variety of new fruits and vegetables and become “food adventurers”.  The garden based educational approach is known to improve children’s willingness to taste vegetables as well as their knowledge of nutrition (Morris et al. 2001, 2002; Morris and Zindenberg-Cherr 2002).
 
Evaluations were completed for tow 8th grade classrooms, two 5th grade classrooms, two 3rd grade classrooms and one combined 3rd and 4th grade summer school classroom.  A total of 42 students in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th completed pre and post surveys.  Results were positive with a 44% decrease in the number of students who drink sugary beverages “everyday” and a 50% decrease in the number of students who choose to drink sugary beverages on “most days.” In addition to these result, 47% of 8th graders reported that their vegetable consumption increased after they went through the nutrition class.
 
The FoodWIse programming was well received in Oneida with plans to repeat the programming this Fall and next summer.