210967 Mobilizing parents to enhance the efficacy of K-3 nutrition education in Connecticut elementary schools

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:50 PM

Lynn Fredericks, BA , FamilyCook Productions, New York, NY
Mercedes Sanchez, RD , FamilyCook Productions, New York, NY
Cindy Crusto , The Consultation Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
Interventions seeking to improve elementary school children's consumption of healthy foods through hands-on, multi-sensory activities, including cooking, benefit from engaging parents as part of the intervention. Food and nutrition education developed by FamilyCook Productions for grades K-3 involves parents as a key component of the education. The curriculum design recognizes parents' role as the ‘gatekeeper' of availability of healthful foods at home and as critical role models of food behaviors to their children. In January 2009, eight Connecticut elementary schools tested one grade of the FamilyCook curriculum. Each school intervention involved the following opportunities for parent engagement and education: 1) parent participation in pre-program training; 2) “Family Night” program launch where parents and children cook together at school; 3) recruitment of parents to volunteer during the cooking classes; 4) a magnet tracker tool provided to all families for tracking family fruit and vegetable consumption at home; 5) information about CSA, farmers markets and farms provided to all families; and 6) a culminating program celebration planned and prepared by parents and children. Preliminary data for the project, funded as part of a larger healthy eating and physical activity curriculum study for child obesity prevention by the Connecticut State Department of Public Health over the 2008-09 school year, demonstrate an increase in fresh fruits and vegetables sent to school by parents for children's snacks and lunches and an increase in children's self-reported eating of different colored fruits and vegetables on a daily basis at home. Additional evidence and final data will be presented to suggest the most effective parent involvement strategies.

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify key components for effective parent involvement in hands-on nutrition education 2) Design effective parent involvement strategies applicable to their program

Keywords: Family Involvement, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an officer of our Food & Nutrition Section and have been conducting research and presenting @ APHA since 2003
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.