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Linking Lessons for Schools

Michigan Fitness Foundation


Linking Lessons for Schools (LL-S) is a direct education resource designed to improve food behaviors with a focus on increasing fruit and vegetable consumption of youth in grades 7-12. LL-S can be delivered by classroom teachers, guest nutrition educators, or teacher/educator teams. This resource was created to meet the need for short, interactive lessons that could be integrated into core subjects (it “links” nutrition to other subjects).

Target Behavior:Healthy Eating, Increasing Vegetables and Fruit, Other: Local Foods, Fast Food, Breakfast, Vegetarian Eating, Energy Balance

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Intervention Reach and Adoption

Linking Lessons for Schools targets students in middle and high school. The intervention was field-tested in 278 classrooms across 14 middle and high schools in Michigan during the development phase. After revisions, the intervention was then piloted with 599 classrooms in 24 schools. LL-S has been used by several SNAP-Ed funded organizations in Michigan reaching thousands of students in hundreds of schools.

Setting: School (Learn)

Target Audience: Middle School, High School

Race/Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

Linking Lessons for Schools has four core components: lesson guides, posters, Ensuring Success User Guide, and a food tasting experience. These components are essential to expect the positive outcomes achieved when the evidence base was established. An important feature is that behavior change is targeted in all five parts of the lesson: Engaging Students, Talking Points, Check for Understanding, Moving Toward Behavior Change, and Healthy Homework allowing for discussion and practice. Generally, local SNAP-Ed implementing agencies provide LL-S lessons on a weekly basis so that the series can be completed within the semester time frame. New in 2021 is a virtual edition of this program.  Slide decks were developed for all ten lessons.  Slides include colorful photos, graphics, and prompts to engage learners in discussions about behavior change.  

Intervention Materials

The Linking Lessons for Schools materials include:

  • Ensuring Success (User Guide) and Program Overview
  • Posters (13): Large, appealing posters are used as a visual to engage students and reinforce the lesson message
  • Lesson Guides (10): One-page, laminated lesson guides minimize prep time and make the program easy for teachers/educators to use.

Intervention Costs

The intervention is packaged to include 13 laminated posters, an overview and User Guide, process evaluation template, and 10 lesson guides that are all provided in a carry bag. The cost is $400 plus shipping.

Evidence Summary

Use of Linking Lessons for Schools has resulted in an increase in frequency of eating fruits (35% of participants) and vegetables (38%) which aligns with MT1l and MT1m. Behavior change was evaluated using Michigan Fitness Foundation’s pre-post Fruit and Vegetable Screener for Youth (available from MFF), derived from the valid and reliable Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System Questionnaire. The survey asks students to self-report the number of times they consumed fruits and vegetables during the previous week.

To assess behavior change, 650 students completed a Fruit and Vegetable Screener. Analysis was conducted on matched pairs (pre and post for each subject). Most youth were 14 to 15 years old; 54% were Black and 23% were Hispanic/Latina. Forty-two (42%) increased frequency of fruit consumption and 45% increased the number of times they ate vegetables.

In addition to outcome evaluation, 1,379 students in middle and high school grades; completed a Program Evaluation Survey after completing the LL-S. Results indicated that 87% of students enjoyed learning about healthy eating, 93% considered lessons to be interesting, 93% reported that they learned something new, and 98% understood the information. Regarding self-reported behavior change, 56% are healthier eaters, 61% reported they were eating more fruit, 47% reported they were eating more vegetables, and 47% were more physically active (due to the program).

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 LT1
Environmental Settings
Sectors of Influence

Evaluation Materials

A Fidelity Checklist is provided to purchasers which identifies critical elements that need to be included in program delivery to expect results associated with the evidence base. The pre/post Fruit and Vegetable Screener used to assess MT1 can be requested from the Michigan Fitness Foundation.

Additional Information

Website: The Michigan Fitness Foundation’s website can be found at this link. For more information about this resource, go to the resources page.

Contact Person (Content):

Teresa Zwemer, R.D.N



Contact to Order:

Teresa Zwemer – Interim Director of Resources and Training



*Updated as of October 12, 2023