Culture of Wellness in Preschools: Nutrition Education and Physical Activity (COWP NE/PA)

Culture of Wellness in Preschools: Nutrition Education and Physical Activity (COWP NE/PA) is a direct education and PSE change intervention designed to increase fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity levels in children and their parents, as well as to reduce their risk of obesity and chronic disease. In addition to providing nutrition education and physical activity in the classrooms, COWP works with Head Start Agencies and other preschool centers to identify and change school PSEs around nutrition and physical activity by working with preschool wellness teams to impact the health of the students and their families. COWP is also designed to improve the likelihood that persons eligible for SNAP will make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles consistent with current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the USDA food guidance.  

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time  
Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change 

FoodCorps Healthy School Toolkit

The FoodCorps Healthy School Toolkit is a PSE change intervention designed to improve school food environments over time. The Toolkit includes a research-backed assessment tool that is used by school teams to assess healthy school food environment activities. The Toolkit also includes the Action Plan, a tool that guides school teams in setting goals and vision to improve school food environments. The Healthy School Progress Report was developed through an evaluation partnership with Columbia University’s Teachers CollegeIt assesses the school food environment across sixteen indicator areas known to contribute to healthy eating behaviors in children, spanning hands-on nutrition education, school gardening, and food preparation experience to the culture of healthy eating in the cafeteria and throughout the school’s practices. It is expected that schools actively using these tools and seeking to implement activities that support a healthy school food environment will make incremental progress on an annual basis.  

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating  
Intervention Type: PSE Change 

Veggie Van (VV) Toolkit

The Veggie Van (VV) Toolkit is a policy, systems, and environmental change intervention designed to:

  • Increase access to healthy, affordable fruits and vegetables in lower income and/or food insecure communities
  • Help the target population improve their diets through skill building
  • Address the interplay between the physical food environment, individual perceptions of that environment, and self-efficacy
  • Address multiple dimensions of access to fresh produce for lower-income and under-served communities, including availability, affordability, accessibility (geographic and financial), and accommodation
  • Improve self-efficacy for finding, purchasing, and preparing fruits and vegetables or other healthy foods via cooking and nutrition education interventions

VV achieves these goals via mobile farmers markets that present cooking demonstrations, recipes, taste tests, and nutrition education to help customers better use the produce they receive. VV mobile markets also accept SNAP benefits, electronic benefits (EBT), and other relevant local food incentive and benefit programs, as well as employ a bundling model in addition to a la carte purchasing. The bundling model allows the VV mobile markets to sell more items at a lower cost and expose participants to a greater variety of fruits and vegetables. Markets operate a minimum of 10 months out of the year and typically source produce locally or regionally.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: PSE Change

10 Tips for Adults

10 Tips for Adults (10 Tips) is a multi-level direct education intervention designed to reinforce messages related to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, increasing physical activity, consuming more water, and providing SNAP eligible adults with the skills to purchase healthy foods on a budget. The curriculum can be used in a variety of community-based settings frequented by SNAP eligible adults that complement and reinforce PSE interventions such as community gardens, healthy retail, worksite wellness, and healthcare clinical community linkages. The curriculum was designed to be implemented by qualified, professional Nutrition Educators and includes two distinct, but complementary, four-session series: Series A: Choosing MyPlate and Series B: Eating Better on a Budget. 10 Tips works to increase participants’ perceptions of the importance of a healthy diet and decrease their perceived barriers to shopping, cooking, and eating healthy on a budget. Each session includes a recipe demonstration and tasting to introduce participants to new healthy foods and simple cooking techniques to reduce perceived barriers to preparing healthy foods. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time, Other: Budget-savvy shopping strategies   
Intervention Type: Direct Education 

Start Strong: Cooking, Feeding, and More

The Start Strong: Cooking, Feeding, and More is a direct education intervention for child care providers that promotes policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change in child care settings.  The intervention is designed to help child care providers increase their knowledge and skills of providing healthy foods for children, increase their knowledge of Federal food programs (SNAP, WIC, CACFP, and School Meals), and increase their confidence in talking about Federal food programs with families who may be food insecure. Family child care providers participate in four culinary nutrition education trainings to increase the knowledge and skills needed to create a healthier food environment for young children at their child care businesses. Child care providers may care for children of low-income families, so in order to address potential food insecurity, each training includes information about a food resource such as SNAP, WIC, and School Meals. As a result of training, child care providers promote healthier eating at their child care businesses by making changes that result in providing healthier foods and a greater variety of vegetables at meal times. For successful implementation of PSE change, facilitated discussions are held as a space for child care providers to learn promising practices from each other.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change

Cooking Matters for Healthcare Partners (CMHP)

Cooking Matters for Healthcare Partners (CMHP) is a direct education and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change intervention designed to increase participant consumption of fruits and vegetables by 15% based on the pre-post program surveys, increase participant access to direct nutrition education, and link SNAP/WIC eligible individuals to preventative community health interventions. To achieve these goals, the program couples the evidence-based Cooking Matters for Adults (CMA) curriculum with produce distribution at the end of each class so that participants can practice their cooking skills at home. For six months after completing the CMA class, participants have monthly nutrition education sessions with clinic nutritionists and redeem their produce via voucher redemption at Fresh MARTA Markets. Overall, the program increases access to direct nutrition education and produce in locations where SNAP/WIC eligible individuals seek health services, in order to change participant behaviors relating to fruit and vegetable consumption and food resource management.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance, Other: Food Resource Management

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change

Healthy for Life Community Nutrition Program (HFL)

The Healthy for Life (HFL) Community Nutrition Program is direct education designed to change relationships with food and nutrition by inspiring individuals and families to make healthy food choices part of their everyday lives. It was designed from the community engagement model, emphasizing participants’ contribution in refining the program. Also, community fit was ensured through the consideration of existing programs along with the target population and facilitator capabilities. Program material was designed to be culturally relevant and facilitators should connect and establish a reciprocal sense of trust and respect among participants. The materials are flexible and can accommodate individuals with time constraints, limited budgets, and minimal nutrition knowledge. The program aims to improve participant confidence and attitudes to sustain healthy behavior change. The recommendation is to offer at least four educational experiences, over 2-3 months to equips individuals with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to discover, choose, and prepare healthy food. Through facilitated food discovery experiences, participants will build food literacy to improve their health.  

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating  
Intervention Type: Direct Education 

Stay Strong, Stay Healthy (SSSH)

Stay Strong, Stay Healthy (SSSH) is a direct education intervention designed to help older adults increase physical activity, decrease sedentary behaviors, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and sustain physical activity participation and healthy eating behaviors post program. SSSH strives to meet the need for effective community-based physical activity (PA) and nutrition programs, so classes are offered by trained SSSH instructors in familiar locations such as churches, community centers, and senior centers. SSSH consists of 16 one-hour sessions over eight weeks. Participants complete a warmup, a prescribed set of upper- and lower-body strengthening exercises, and a cool-down. SSSH challenges participants through incremental increases in exercise volume and intensity. Each PA session is followed by a nutrition lesson, and lessons are tailored to older adults by addressing topics such as fiber, bone health, and vitamins and minerals for healthy aging. In addition to weekly group classes, participants are encouraged to complete the program on their own once a week, including preparation of the recipes. After the course ends, participants are still encouraged to continue at home or with a community group. The overall goal of SSSH is to increase PA and improve nutrition behavior to help seniors maintain independence.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time

Intervention Type: Direct Education

UCONN Husky Nutrition On-the-Go, Sugary Drink Reduction (SDR)

Husky Nutrition On-the-Go: Sugary Drink Reduction (SDR) is a direct education intervention designed to reduce sugary drink consumption among three to five-year-old children enrolled in early childhood education (ECE) programs by changing primary caregiver knowledge, motivation, and behaviors. SDR is a 10-week, brief interaction program developed for implementation during child pick-up times at ECE programs located in SNAP-Ed eligible communities. The curriculum includes 10 nutrition education modules centered around eight discrete messages about the information, motivation, or skills needed to understand why and how to decrease sugary drink consumption in a child’s diet. Each week, the parent encounters an activity to apply knowledge and skills learned at a display board, repetition of a targeted message for the week, informational handouts, and a gift to reinforce that message.  A series of short videos that reinforce SDR messages has also been developed for social media. Each week of the program, students enrolled in a university service-learning course set up the weekly display board at participating ECE centers and greet parents when they pick up their children.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: Direct Education

PSE Readiness Assessment and Decision Instrument (PSE READI)

The PSE READI intervention was designed with guidance from SNAP-Ed and public health practitioners in Ohio to promote successful implementation of community nutrition Policy, System, and Environmental (PSE) programs as a broader strategy for obesity prevention. Practitioners can take the online PSE Readiness Assessment and Decision Instrument (READI) to assess their community’s readiness and capacity to implement community nutrition PSE changes. The PSE READI can be completed by an individual or the practitioner can invite community members to share their input in a team assessment. The four different PSE READIs currently available include: Farmers’ Markets, Healthy Food Retail, Farm to School, and Healthy Eating Policies in Childcare. After completion of your PSE READI, a report will be generated with three recommendations tailored to local community readiness and capacity. These recommendations will help practitioners and teams plan next steps and guide community nutrition PSE implementation. The PSE READI website includes a curated resource library with over 1,000 toolkits, guides, and other evidence-based PSE resources that provide guidance to help end-users put into action their community nutrition PSE implementation.  

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating  
Intervention Type: PSE Change