Nutrition education program teaches children how to make healthy food choices

Sacramento, CA -- Nutrition Pathfinders, a multi-feature nutrition education program offered by the Dairy Council of California, teaches grade-school students how to keep their bodies strong and healthy. Students learn how to select foods based on the food guide pyramid and about the importance of physical activity. Recent evaluation confirms the program's benefits for teachers and students alike.

Using a variety of tools to engage students including an interactive CD-ROM, activity workbook and web site (http://www.np.dairycouncilofca.org), Nutrition Pathfinders serves as tool to help both teachers and students achieve success. The nutrition education program, designed for third, fourth and fifth grade students, aligns with California and National Education Standards and meets core curriculum requirements for math, science, writing and health. Students gain knowledge about healthy eating using critical thinking, problem-solving and character building skills.

To determine the program's effectiveness, quantitative evaluation was conducted in spring 2003 with approximately 400 students and 25 teachers in California. Conclusions show that after using Nutrition Pathfinders, students improved their knowledge about the food guide pyramid and healthy eating. Almost half of the students (49%) reported eating less extra foods, more grains (44%), and milk and dairy (40%). Approximately one-third of the students increased consumption of meats, beans and nuts (34%), vegetables (39%), and fruits (25%).

Teachers participating in the evaluation found that Nutrition Pathfinders strengthens valuable skills including self-responsibility, language arts, and basic computer and keyboarding skills. The majority of teachers were highly satisfied with the program components and outcomes, and plan to use it again.


Contact: Schaelene Rollins
Dairy Council of California

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