Drexel University High School Nutrition Curriculum

Drexel University PA SNAP-Ed/EAT RIGHT PHILLY Program

Overview

The Drexel University High School Nutrition Curriculum is a direct education curriculum designed to teach high school students the principles of the MyPlate Food Guidance system, while encouraging them to make healthy behavior changes to their own eating styles. Students will adopt or continue healthy eating habits that include: making half the plate fruits and vegetables, choose fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, and limit foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars, and sodium. This will allow students to work towards maintaining a proper energy balance to promote a healthy weight. Drexel University’s PA SNAP-Ed/Eat Right Philly program is a partner to the Pennsylvania (PA) SNAP-Ed Program (PA SNAP-Ed) and the School District of Philadelphia’s Eat Right Philly ProgramThe intervention works to foster positive healthy habits related to nutrition and physical activity. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating  
Intervention Type: Direct Education 

Intervention Reach and Adoption

The Drexel University High School Nutrition Curriculum targets SNAP-Ed eligible high school (HS) students. The intervention is intended for use with students in grades 9 through 12 in a school setting. It has been used in public and charter high schools. Over the three-year evaluation, 1,100 baseline and 972 post-intervention surveys were collected from 18 sites. Since the evaluation, it has been used by SNAP-Ed Educators in about 20 high schools in Philadelphia, reaching around 5,000 students. In addition, a current evaluation is being conducted on the feasibility of training district teachers to implement the curriculum.  

Setting: School (Learn) 
Target Audience: High School 
Race/Ethnicity: All. 

Intervention Components

The Drexel University’s High School Nutrition Curriculum includes a series of five evaluated lessons with suggested activities and handouts. Lessons meet Pennsylvania Academic Standards. Each lesson has a comprehensive lesson plan, PowerPoint presentation, worksheets, handouts, answer keys, and suggested activities. Activities provide students with hands-on, practical application of the concepts taught. Lessons can be taught by a classroom teacher or a nutrition educator. The primary aim is to empower participants to make healthier food and beverage choices, while understanding the reasons for making a shift to a healthier lifestyle. Lessons are intended to be used as a 5-lesson series but can be used as individual lessons. A series can be delivered as a daily, weekly, or monthly lesson. The interactive activities in each lesson should be used to reinforce the concepts and provide practical application of concepts. There are six additional lessons that were not included in the evaluation, but may be implemented, as well, preferably after the first five lessons have been delivered.

Intervention Materials

The Drexel University High School Nutrition Curriculum includes evaluated lessons and additional topics. 

Lesson materials include: Comprehensive lesson plans, PowerPoints, activities, handouts, and answer keys.  

Materials can be downloaded from the website
drexel.edu/nutritioneducation or https://sites.google.com/view/nutred4philly/home 

Intervention Costs

Materials available at no cost. 

Evidence Summary

The modified Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) supplied by Pennsylvania (PA) SNAP-Ed, formerly known as PA Nutrition TRACKS, was used for both baseline and post-intervention surveys. The YRBS has been used by PA SNAP-Ed for several years and is well tested. In year one of the evaluation, students received the modified YRBS survey. In years two and three, additional curriculum-specific knowledge and attitude questions were added. These 19 supplemental questions were created and reviewed by faculty of the Drexel University Department of Nutrition Sciences and PA SNAP-Ed questions were developed based on the specific content of the five lessons being taught. A 0 to 5 rating scale was used by expert reviewers to decide the appropriateness and relevance of the questions. A score of 0 indicated the question was not appropriate for use, while a score of 5 was given to questions that were most appropriate for inclusion on the survey. 

After the intervention, an overall increase was seen in the amount of milk students reported consuming, but the type of milk was not specified. A knowledge and attitude survey added to the YRBS in years two and three showed significant improvements in knowledge and attitude. For instance, students showed a significant improvement in selecting the correct answers, including that as part of a healthy diet they should try to eat a variety of foods from the five food groups, exercise at least 60 minutes/day, and that soda contains “empty calories”. A 13.2% improvement was seen in student attitude by selecting that they would take the stairs if they went to a shopping mall. In addition to these changes, anecdotal observations were made that support the findings, specifically, students verbally volunteered that they were eating more vegetables, and after receiving the Drinks lesson, many students said they would not drink soda, demonstrating a personal motivation to make healthy changes.  

 

Evidence-based Approach: Practice-tested  

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual MT1
Environmental Settings
Sectors of Influence

MT1: Healthy Eating 

  • MT1lStudents reported improvements in vegetable intake. There was a 18.5% decline in the number of students reporting they did not eat potatoes in the last seven days and a 13.0% increase was seen in the consumption of potatoes (Does not count French fries, fried potatoes, or potato chips) at any time during the previous week. There was a 5.6% decline in the number of students reporting that they did not eat carrots in the past week, and an overall 11.2% increase in any carrot consumption over the past week. Increases in potato and carrot consumption suggest an increase in vegetable consumption. 
  • MT1h: There was a 12.2% increase in the number of students reporting that they did not drink soda in the past seven days (p=0.033). A 29.4% reduction was seen in the number of students who reported consuming soda 4 or more times a day, and a 17.7% reduction in the number of students who reported consuming soda 3 or more times a day.  

Evaluation Materials

A tested evaluation tool that could be used with this curriculum is the “Starting the Conversation: Diet.” This is a short tool that would not be a burden to administer and would identify the number of servings a participant consumed. If done at baseline and post-intervention, a participant could see if his/her intake patterns changed.  

This tool is available here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379710005866?via%3Dihub  

Additional Information

Website: The Drexel University’s High School Nutrition Curriculum website: https://drexel.edu/nutritioneducation includes more about the intervention as well as education materials and recipe videos.  

Contact Person(s):
Judy Ensslin 
Phone215-895-0596
Email: jae58@drexel.edu