Target Behavior: Healthy Eating
Intervention Type: Direct Education
Intervention Reach and Adoption
Setting: Child care (Learn), Community (Live), School (Learn), USDA program sites (not National School Lunch Program)
Target Audience: Preschool (<5 years), Elementary School, Parents/Mothers/Fathers
WISE is designed to be delivered across a 9-month term with curricula lessons occurring on a weekly basis. Adherence to the suggested monthly schedule assures repeated sensory exploration. WISE is based on an extensive literature review of research-best practices specific for low-income, preschool children. Target foods were selected to be budget friendly, widely available across the US, and lacking from the diet of low-income children. A mascot-character puppet is used in the curriculum to excite children and translate that excitement to the home.
WISE training for early educators focuses on skill development in 4 evidence-based practices: 1) mascot use to provide a familiar, friendly character associated with fruits and vegetables, 2) role modeling by educators 3) positive feeding practices to support children’s self-regulation and autonomy, and 4) provision of multiple, hands-on experiences with target foods to increase exposure and support food acceptance. Educator training is optional but highly recommended. Educator training is based on adult learning theories and documented gaps in educator knowledge.
Social media content is available for programs interested in using the content to engage families and early childhood educators in the WISE program goals. It has been shown to be effective in reaching parents in lower socioeconomic households.
- 8 research-based monthly WISE discovery units (2 versions available: preschool or Kindergarten/Grade 1)
- Introductory Unit to introduce the concepts and mascot
- Practitioner Manual
- 9 target food photo packs used with discovery units
- Windy WISE curriculum puppet
- 8-piece bulletin board set
Despite positive impacts on dietary outcomes, teacher fidelity to the evidence-based practices was less than optimal in the original study (20- 50%). In a subsequent ongoing study, strategies are being tested to increase fidelity to the curriculum. One product of this work will be an implementation toolkit (2019) that will support agencies at each stage of implementation (preparation, implementation, maintenance).
Outcome evaluation showed that educators increased knowledge of nutrition best practices from pre/post-training and retained post-training knowledge levels for 8 months post-training. Parents reported an increase in consumption at home of fruits and vegetables targeted by the WISE intervention. In a comparison of WISE youth participants compared to youth in similar preschool classrooms, parents of WISE participants reported consumption of more WISE foods, more fruits and vegetables in general, and less sweet food than children not experiencing WISE. Results were supported with an objective measure of carotenoid intake using resonance Raman Spectroscopy. This study controlled for pre-intervention consumption and family characteristics.
A comprehensive list of WISE research publications can be found on the WISE website.
Evidence-based Approach: Research-tested
|Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST)||Changes – Medium Term (MT)||Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT)||Population Results (R)|
|Sectors of Influence|
- MT1l: Significant increase (effect size of .27) based on pre/post parent report (~an additional serving per week)
- MT1m: Significant increase (effect size of .27) based on pre/post parent report (~an additional serving a week)
- MT1c: Significant increase in fruit than a comparison group after controlling for child, family, and parent characteristics. This includes a variety of fruit choices made.
- MT1d: Significant increase in vegetables than a comparison group after controlling for child, family, and parent characteristics. This includes a variety of choices made.
- Educator training pre- and post-test: included as part of the training
- Table Talk: an observational tool used to assess classroom educators’ nutrition implementation of best practice
- WISE implementation fidelity tool: an observation measure of quality
- Parent survey of WISE food consumption
- Programs using The Family Map can embed an evaluation of WISE when requested
*Updated as of August 20, 2023