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Health Education Program Proposal: Improving Elementary Student Wellness through Nutrition Education for Parents

by Monica Shanks, Danielle Locks, Josh Lelonek, Joey Huang, and Alan Keicher

Lincoln School District Health Education Program Proposal 2012

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Needs Assessment
According to the Lets Move government initiative, childhood obesity rates have tripled within the last thirty years, making nearly one in every three children (ages 2 19) overweight or obese. This issues existence is widely acknowledged in our country today, but while our focus is often on the sheer number of children who are overweight, we seldom consider how this excess weight will affect their quality of life. In addition to raising the risk of numerous health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, let us consider the repercussions of these obesity-related diseases such as Type II Diabetes; children with this disease may be insulin dependant for the rest of their lives, requiring them take shots regularly, which can be both painful and socially disruptive. As stated in an article from BMS Public Health, obesity is predominantly a life-long condition...Chronic health conditions require descriptions of health status and treatments beyond their impact on survival time. This explains that a decreased life-span is only one consideration in regard to obesity-related health problems; ones quality of life is affected as well. Furthermore, childhood obesity has been shown to degrade academic performance and attendance. As stated in a study, Poor physical quality of life can translate into missed school days for the overweight and obese adolescent, and if being overweight causes a child to miss school, he or she might suffer academically as a result. Students who are overweight miss more school days than their non-overweight peers, and have comparatively lower grades as well. This is worrysome to parents as well as educators, as this lowered academic performance can have repercussions throughout life (for example, gaining acceptance to college). Aside from health risks and academic degradation, childhood obesity affects ones self-confidence, social experiences, and opportunities in life. At the elementary school level, perhaps the most important of these is the social experiences that build self-confidence and self-esteem. An article, Examining Attendance, Academic Performance, and Behavior in Obese Adolescents, states, Overweight and obesity are considered the number one reason for peer rejection in America ... Friendships during adolescence provide occasions to practice social skills and are more intense and significant than at any other time in an individuals life. This likely comes as no surprise considering stereotypes and weight-related discrimination. Childhood obesity can prevent children from experiencing meaningful friendships in their early years, and can also lead to bullying and abuse. One article states, overweight and obese individuals are more likely to be
Lincoln School District Health Education Program Proposal 2012

Description of the Problem

bullied and be involved in relational, verbal, and physical bullying. Again, this is not necessarily surprising, but cause for concern nonetheless. Schools and parents must work to help prevent and combat childhood obesity, not purely for health related reasons, but also for academic, psychological, and social well-being of these children.
References: [1] Daniels, RN, PhD, D. Y. (2008, December). Examining attendance, academic performance, and behavior in obese adolescents. The Journal of School Nursing, 24(6), 379-387. [2] Domestic Policy Council. (2010, May). Solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. In Lets move. [3] Swartz, M.B., and Puhl R. (2003). Childhood obesity: A societal problem to solve. Obesity Reviews, 4(1):5771. [4] Wille, N., Erhart, M., Peterson, C., & Ravens-Sieberer, U. (2008). The impact of overweight and obesity on healthrelated quality of life in childhood - results from an intervention study. BMC Public Health, 8(421).

The group that is the focus of this study is elementary age students and their respective parents in The Lincoln Consolidated School District (LCSD). Current elementary census is at 2020 students k-5th grade. Demographically, it is very close in having the same amount of female students as male students. As for racial/ethnic backgrounds, Caucasian is the largest group and majority; second is African American and Hispanic a distant third.



(To make for greater ease of reading, all steps will be in bullet format.)

September 10th 12th: Reviewed the current Wellness Policy of LCSD September 17th: Assigned roles and responsibilities of members within group September 19th: Reviewed, compared, and contrasted other similar and related surveys September 24th: Created a rough list of questions for a survey that targets our population September 26th: Compared survey questions with other groups in class and made revisions October 1st: Reviewed health plans October 3rd: Constructed a rough version of our survey October 8th 17th: Edit and revise survey October 10th 22nd: Background research into childrens health and obesity, with focus on nutrition October 15th: Submitted questions for class wide survey October 15th 22nd: Finalized survey October 24th 29th: Collected survey results October 31st November 4th: Analyzed and interpreted survey results

Survey results were not surprising; parents are concerned with child wellness, but seem to think the status quo is adequate. That is, parents surveyed indicated a concern
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for their childrens health and wellness in regard to nutrition and physical activity, but felt that children currently receive plenty of health and physical education classes. This tells us that parents are likely unaware of the positive impact such classes can have on student wellness. Additionally, parents overwhelmingly felt that they should personally model health practices regarding nutrition and physical activity for their children (see graphs below):

may not be fully educated on healthy eating behaviors and adequate physical activity in the first place. Parents did express a desire to learn about nutrition and physical activity in regard to their children, though interest dropped when concerning themselves. Of course, their personal choices in these areas strongly affect the choices of their children, so to properly encourage healthy behaviors amongst children, parents must first be educated themselves. Overall, many parents were not aware and/or did not understand the districts wellness policy, and were satisfied with the health education and physical activity provided at school. That being the case, parents were still interested in learning more to help their children lead healthy lives in regard to nutrition and physical activity, and felt that their personal practices in such areas should be healthy for the sake of their children. (complete survey results attached in appendix)


Again, this is not necessarily surprising, as it seems widely believed that modeling healthy behaviors is a positive thing. What was surprising, however, was that the majority of parents felt that they do in fact model healthy eating and physical activity practices (see results in appendix). While a positive self-opinion is good, we know that this may not be accurate as an alarming percentage of the adult population is overweight or obese in our country. Thus, these parents

Breakdown: 1. Students will have improved food options while at school. This will be achieved by providing healthier choices and making more nutritious foods more affordable than the less nutritious food choices. 2. Parents will be given opportunities to gain skills related to cooking and making better health-conscious decisions. This may be achieved by providing cooking workshops for parents and families to learn healthy cooking skills, as well as workshops regarding skills such as how to accurately read a food label. 3. Families within the district will be able to access community supports for menu planning, grocery shopping, and eating behaviors (for example: food stamps, dietitians, transportation services, etc.). This will be achieved by providing information on the district web site for parents to access at home.

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by educating parents on nutrition and physical activity, enhancing nutrition in schools, and encouraging faculty to model a healthy lifestyle.

Students overall quality of life will improve

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Program Plan
1. The Student will be able to evaluate which food option is the healthiest food for them that the school provides. 2. The Student or parent will be able to explain why nutrition is necessary for a healthy lifestyle and what is necessary to maintain healthier lifestyle. 3. The parent will be able to apply skills that are learned through workshops and community resources. 4. The student will be able to show the skills of a healthier person with the help of their parents. 5. The parents will be able to model a healthier lifestyle for their student with the help of community resources. 6. The school as a whole will support a healthy lifestyle plus help their parents and children reach a healthier living style.

instruction for our parents could lead to them being more vested in the school, in addition to more funds and healthier students.

Resources for Program

Food Assistance (food stamps)

MI) (state of

Food Distribution needfood aspx?state=MI (food banks) boutfbcmich_memberfoodbanks Food Facts & Meal Planning Professional.htm PPT__LONG-FINAL.pdf G e t % 2 0 F R E S H % 2 0 TO O ! % 2 0 C o o k b o o k % 2 0 pages%201-41.pdf Kids Health Possible Handouts Teen.Nutrition.pdf Dieticians mi-michigan/ann-arbor (local contacts)
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Lincoln School District Health Education Program Proposal 2012

Our proposed plan to assist in lowering the amount of childhood obesity is a multifaceted plan that focuses directly on the parents. This plan encompasses educating and providing parents with the tools they need to ensure that their child(ren) is eating healthy and nutritious food. We plan to do this by providing parents with more affordable nutritious food choices at their child(ren) lunch. Along with making healthier foods more available, we encourage the limiting of less nutritious foods available to the children. We also suggest making the lunch menu accessible to parents online, so parents can better aid their child in picking out more nutritious foods. The next part of our plan is to educate our parents to make and chose more nutritious foods. We plan to achieve this by having open classes were parents can learn how to cook healthier foods from a trained professional. Along with learning on how to prepare more nutritious meals, we want to educate parents on how to properly read nutrition labels. Ideally by instructing our parents on how to cook more nutritiously and how to better read nutrition labels will translate in to cooking more nutritious in the home. Lastly, we strongly suggest making resources for nutritious eating more available to parents. This can be done by making pamphlets to hand out at the parent classes. Or for a more affordable choice, make a list available on the schools website. By going the electronic route parents could access the lunches for their child(ren) as well as see the resources in one convenient place. Through these combined methods, we believe that the school can easily and affordably assist in lowering childhood obesity for our children. Also, providing the resources and

Program Description

mi/ann-arbor Online Games html

Implementation Plan

Cooking Classes 1. Hire a chef/cook and dietician for cooking classes a. Dietician can be a student, students, or a class from Eastern Michigan University School of Dietetics b. Chef/cook can be a faculty member from the culinary arts program at Washtenaw Community College 2. Find location for cooking classes a. Note how many people will be able to participate within the venue 3. Book location for cooking classes a. Depending on the size of the venue and participation by the parents, more than one day per week may be necessary. 4. Plan the lesson a. Meal to be prepared b. Materials will be provided by the Lincoln Consolidated School District i. All necessary ingredients ii. Appliances: stove, refrigerator, oven, mixer, blender, etc iii. Dishes, bowls, disposable dishes iv. Utensils: spoons, cutlery, spatulas, knives, plastic flatware, etc. c. Size and number of classes d. Plan for accommodations

i. Dietary restrictions (i.e., gluten free, vegetarian, Kosher, vegan, lactose intolerant) ii. Fine motor assistance e. Agenda for class i. Include times allotted per task ii. Stay within time specified 5. Plan a mode of evaluation a. Give participants a survey at the end of class to allow for feedback 6. Send out information for cooking classes to parents of students in the district a. Specify: i. Location ii. Date/time iii. Meal to be prepared iv. If there are any costs or items parents need to bring 1. Do parents help to cover the cost of the location/teachers? 2. Will this be a barrier for parental participation? 7. Run the class a. Note how many parents signed up to attend b. Note how many parents attended c. Determine if future classes will need to be planned 8. Evaluate effectiveness based on parent feedback a. Ask parents what they thought worked well in the class b. Ask parents what could be improved c. Ask parents their overall satisfaction with the class d. Ask if parents would recommend the service and/or attend future sessions School Lunches 1. Post menus on the districts website 2. Evaluate and list prices for food options in school kitchens/cafeterias 3. Adjust markups on food items a. Decrease/remove markup on produce/salads/milk/ non-processed foods b. Increase markups on foods with high calories/fat
Oct Nov Dec Jan

Hire cook & dietician Book class location Plan curriculum Market classes to parents Hold classes Evaluate class effectiveness Evaluate food prices Adjust food prices Monitor student choices Gather & organize resources Create pamphlets & website Market resource materials




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content/sodium/sugar values or are processed 4. Monitor food-buying behaviors by students a. Note any changes (or lack of changes) made in students food purchasing behaviors Local Resources 1. Establish categories for resources 2. Gather resources and organize into already established categories 3. List resources and how to access them into a brochure/ pamphlet 4. Create page on the district website to access the resources 5. Send brochure/pamphlet home with students along with instructions on how to access the information from the district website 6. Survey the parents at a later date to determine effectiveness/helpfulness


Travel Licenses and Permits


$5,000 $1,000 $230,000

Evaluation Plan


Full-Time Salaries & Fringe

Supplies & Printing

Director Dietician Chef Health Educator Secretary/Clerical

$60,000 $35,000 $35,000 $40,000 $23,000 $4,000 $2,000 $1,000 $1,500 $1,000 $4,000 $4,000 $3,000 $1,500 $500 $2,500 $5,000 $1,000


Educational Program Menus/Receipts Testing and Assessment Office Supplies Disposable Dishes Food Materials Printing/Pamphlets Postage Website Hosting Maintenance Computer Software Classroom Rental

Parents After the parents are done with the workshops, they will be handed a questionnaire to complete and returned to us before they leave. The questionnaire will evaluate: Whether or not the parents know why nutrition is necessary. Whether or not the parents know how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Whether or not the parents found the cooking lessons useful for home cooking Whether or not the parents feel that the suggested cuisine realistic for a home setting. How the parents will model a healthy lifestyle for their child(ren). Students The students will be given a survey in their first hour homeroom to demonstrate the level of mastery for the given objectives. The survey will include: Questions that will assess them on what types of food are the healthiest that the school offers. Questions about why nutrition is necessary and what is needed to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Questions on their personal health habits to see whether or not improvement was made in regard to those habits. Overall We will test to see if the rate of BMI (Body Mass Index) is within the normal range.


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