CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) RESOURCE CENTER Read More

Blending Nutrition and Education in Schools

State: OK Type: Promising Practice Year: 2019

:
Tulsa Health Department
:
Blending Nutrition and Education in Schools

Childhood obesity and low consumption of produce is a state-wide public health concern. The Tulsa City-County Health Department It's All About Kids Program (IAK) is partnering with public school districts to deliver K-5th grade nutrition education. Working with the Child Nutrition Departments at both Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) and Union Public Schools (UPS), IAK Registered Dietitians developed a class utilizing their Blender Bikes. These bikes are special made to run a blender using pedal power. Prior to the Blender Bike Class, there was minimal formal nutrition education offered. Methods: IAK Registered Dietitians visit schools, holding classes that feature the use of a blender bike. Staff teach nutrition concepts and provide nutrition education, focusing on label reading, food groups, healthy drinks, and strategies to incorporate produce into diets. During the class, students pedal the blender bike to rotate the blender blades making their own healthy smoothies. Students also participate in two active stations that reinforce the nutrition education provided in the class. Third through fifth-grade students complete a post-session assessment, checking for knowledge and measuring the likelihood of behavior change. A 60-day follow-up assessment is also administered to the same group of students. IAK staff work with schools to ensure the cost-effectiveness of this program. Results: On the post-test immediately following the session, 87.5% of students demonstrated knowledge of food groups, 61% demonstrated knowledge of nutrients found in dairy, and 68.2% demonstrated knowledge of the appropriate daily servings of dairy that should be consumed. The last question asked how likely the students are to make a smoothie at home. The results were not statistically significant. The 60-day follow-up results have shown that a majority of the students have retained knowledge. On the 60-day post-test, 92.1% of students demonstrated knowledge of food groups, 50.8% demonstrated knowledge of nutrients found in dairy, and 58.6% demonstrated knowledge of the appropriate daily servings of dairy that should be consumed. Conclusion: Over the past two years, interest and participation in this program have increased due to the low overall cost, administration buy-in at the school level, and student enthusiasm and participation. This nutrition education program has been successful and has proven to positively impact behaviors and student outcomes as identified in the data collected. More information about the IAK program can be found at www.tulsaplay.org

The goal of the Blender Bike Class is to provide quality nutrition education to the students of Tulsa County in a way that is fun, interactive, and cost effective for all parties. The IAK dietitians sat down with the Child Nutrition departments from both Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) and Union Public Schools (UPS) to plan the class. After deciding on specific learning objectives, the IAK dietitians modified Physical Education games to incorporate the nutrition message of the class. Beyond the cost of the Blender Bike $2400, the cost of the class consists solely of the food ingredients, cups, and labor of IAK staff and school Child Nutrition Staff. TPS estimates the total cost of each class, including food ingredients, cups and labor, breaks down to $0.97 a student, with the smoothie itself costing $0.34 a student. Without the purchasing power of the child nutrition departments, the cost of the smoothie itself almost doubles to $0.65 a student.

The goal of the Blender Bike Class is to provide quality nutrition education to the students of Tulsa County in a way that is fun, interactive, and cost effective for all parties. The IAK dietitians sat down with the Child Nutrition departments from both Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) and Union Public Schools (UPS) to plan the class. After deciding on specific learning objectives, the IAK dietitians modified Physical Education games to incorporate the nutrition message of the class. Beyond the cost of the Blender Bike $2400, the cost of the class consists solely of the food ingredients, cups, and labor of IAK staff and school Child Nutrition Staff. TPS estimates the total cost of each class, including food ingredients, cups and labor, breaks down to $0.97 a student, with the smoothie itself costing $0.34 a student. Without the purchasing power of the child nutrition departments, the cost of the smoothie itself almost doubles to $0.65 a student.

IAK staff and/or school staff collected data using a combination of paper surveys and digital surveys using Plickers. Plickers is a web based app that collects answers from up to 60 students at once using QR codes and the camera on a smartphone. Third through fifth graders were post-tested either at the end or within three to four days of the class with four multiple choice questions evaluating knowledge gained during the class. The same group of students were also administered a 60-day post test with the same questions but with the last question changed as noted below.

  1. Which of the following food belongs to the Dairy food group?
    1. Blueberries
    2. Oats
    3. Banana
    4. Milk
  2. Vitamin D and _______ are two major nutrients found in the Dairy food group.
    1. Calcium
    2. Fiber
    3. Vitamin K
    4. Vitamin C
  3. How many servings of Dairy should you eat or drink a day?
    1. One
    2. Two
    3. Three
    4. Four
  4. How likely are you to make the smoothie you drank at the Blender Bike Class at home?
    1. Very likely
    2. Likely
    3. Somewhat likely
    4. Unlikely

60-day post-test question:

  1. Have you made the smoothie you drank at the Blender Bike Class at home?
    1. Yes
    2. No

On the post-test immediately following the session, 87.5% of students demonstrated knowledge of food groups, 61% demonstrated knowledge of nutrients found in dairy, and 68.2% demonstrated knowledge of the appropriate daily servings of dairy that should be consumed. The last question asked how likely the students are to make the smoothie at home. The results were not statically significant. The 60-day follow-up results have shown that a majority of the students have retained knowledge. On the 60-day post-test, 92.1% of students demonstrated knowledge of food groups, 50.8% demonstrated knowledge of nutrients found in dairy, and 58.6% demonstrated knowledge of the appropriate daily servings of dairy that should be consumed. Results of the data were analyzed by Tulsa Health Department's epidemiologists. No modifications have been made yet.

Over the past year, IAK has brought the Blender Bike Class to three school districts in Tulsa County. For school year 2018-2019, the program is scheduled to visit different schools in those three districts and have added an additional school district.

During the past year, IAK has learned that ensuring collaboration with the Nutrition Department at each school district is necessary for cost-benefit and to facilitate health standards. If the school administration purchases the food items without the buying power of their Nutrition Departments the cost of the class increases substantially. Using Walmart.com for pricing, the cost of the smoothie alone increases to $0.65 per student from $0.34 that it costs one school district's Nutrition Department. This cost does not include the cup the smoothie is served in or the labor associated with the class.

With the continued buy-in from the districts, specifically from the Child Nutrition departments the program is very sustainable. The current plan is to visit different schools in each district until all schools have received the Blender Bike Class, and then start over again.

E-Mail from NACCHO