This paper is for educators who would like to integrate health education, 21st Century teaching skills
) and new media technologies into their curriculum. It outlines innovative and
interdisciplinary projects using social interaction media; offers creative strategies for producing media
with elementary students and developing Web 2.0 projects integrating 21st century skills. The goal
of this interdisciplinary unit is to develop a research based global nutrition curriculum that promoteshealthy eating habits among elementary school children in elementary schools especially 3rd through
5th grade. By collaborating with health educators, in-service and pre-service teachers in this project,we developed and implemented a Global Kitchen Project to infuse 21st Century skills and knowledgein the excitement of new discovery through research, improve the children’s eating habits and
contribute innovative interdisciplinary projects for classroom use.
Situated within the context of teaching and learning, this research project aims to advance scienticknowledge of how an interdisciplinary based curriculum revolving around nutrition as a means to
promote healthy eating behaviors in young children can provide an experiential global educationfor both the teachers and students and engage them in curricular activities to enhance their criticalthinking skills and global competencies needed to succeed in the 21st century.
In this study, we address a public health issue among young children in the nation by offering the
“global tools” (e.g., media literacy, multiple perspective) for teachers to better educate these childrenabout the importance of practicing healthy eating behaviors.
Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in the United States. Obesity is dened, according tothe 2000 Center for Disease Control growth reference for the United States, as the body mass index(BMI), or a person’s weight divided by height (Ogden et al., 2002). An obese person falls at or abovethe 95th percentile of BMI-for-age (Kuczmarski & Flegal, 2000). The national statistics of childrenwho are obese are alarming. According to Stop Childhood Obesity (http://www.stop-childhood-obesity.com/childhood-obesity-statistics.html), over the past three decades, the childhood obesity rate hasskyrocketed: “more than doubled for preschool children aged 2-5 years and adolescents aged 12-
19 years, and it has more than tripled for children aged 6-11 years.” Of all the age groups, the most
prevalent are children ages 6-11, with the percentage of them being obese increased from 7% in1980 to nearly 20% in 2008 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). The consequencesof obesity are serious, including persistent overweight into adulthood with adult health complications,such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke (Guo & Chumelea, 1999; Freedman et al., 2005;Freedman, Khan, Dietz, Sirnivasan, & Berenson, 2001; Freedman, Wang, Thornton, et al., 2009).Furthermore, obesity has been reported to account for over 300, 000 deaths annually in the UnitedStates. While obesity is a health issue for individuals, it is also a problem to society. Stop Childhood
Obesity noted that obesity costs society annually an estimated nearly $100 billion.
As a child’s health is related to his or her school performance, healthy eating may contribute to hisor her academic success (CDC, 2010, Hoyland, Dye, Lawton, 2009; Rampersaud, Pereira, Girard, Adams, Metzl, 2005; Taras, 2005). For school-age children, schools become an important placewhere children acquire knowledge about healthy eating behaviors so that they can practice themin their lives. Schools can create environments that promote and support children’s efforts to eat
healthy by implementing pertinent policies and practices (Center for Disease Control and Prevention,