Online Program

Healthy teachers equals healthy students: An intervention to change school culture

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:48 p.m. - 3:06 p.m.

Deb Lewison-Grant, Ed.D., Educational Non-profit, FoodFight, New York, NY
Combating the obesity epidemic and pervasive chronic diet-related disease requires a cultural shift in attitudes toward health and wellness. Schools should be leveraged more effectively as a platform to catalyze this change. FoodFight's Teacher Wellness Program focuses on educating and gaining the buy-in of school staff who shape school culture. While garden grants and cooking classes teach complimentary skills, food literacy education is key to developing critical consumers who wield the knowledge to make informed, healthy choices. Through a 6-hour intervention, participants learn: the basic principles of a healthy diet, reading food labels, navigating the supermarket, the impact of marketing on consumer choices, and the politics influencing our food system. To reinforce this learning, FoodFight provides: curriculum and training on how to teach and mentor students, parent wellness workshops, and the opportunity for staff to be paired with a wellness coach. Outcome research conducted by the Program in Nutrition, Columbia University reports that 90% of participants agreed that FoodFight has changed their eating and buying habits, and shown increases in: general nutrition knowledge; understanding of whole foods; media literacy; and, improved self-efficacy regarding health; as well as, decreases in sugar-sweetened beverage and processed food consumption. Once armed with the knowledge necessary to transform their own health and wellbeing, teachers and other school staff serve as role models for students and become agents of change in their schools and communities.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe how schools can and should play a critical role in transforming the way we eat and think about food

Keyword(s): Education, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a former public high school teacher who was responsible for co-authoring the FoodFight curriculum delivered in schools.
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.