Date of Publication
Introduction. Despite positive changes, childhood obesity and food insecurity remain prevalent across the country. Vermont is not immune to these issues. We set out to: research the level of nutrition education Vermont elementary schools provide their students, understand teacher perceptions of these programs, and recommend ways to fill identified gaps.
Methods. Our study is a cross-sectional survey of Vermont educators around nutrition education. The survey consisted of 17 questions, used LimeSurvey, and included demographic and nutrition education questions. The survey was distributed statewide through newsletters and list-servers.
Results. 64 responses met inclusion criteria. Vermont elementary school (K-6) teachers report a mean satisfaction score of 2.51 out of 5.0 for their schools' current nutrition education programs. School nurses reported a score of 2.5 out of 5.0. Highest satisfaction scores included school administrators and health and wellness coordinators (3.3 out of 5.0). When comparing teachers to non-classroom educators (administrators and nutrition educators) data showed a significant difference between high satisfaction (3-5) and low satisfaction (1-2); (Fischer p = 0.009). Overall, Vermont elementary school teachers report a high level of knowledge about nutrition, (4.1/5.0), but a lower level of understanding in their students (2.5/5.0).
Conclusions. Given teacher perceptions regarding current school nutrition education programs, development and implementation of a state-wide nutrition education curriculum with dedicated teaching time may be warranted. Programs recommended by the CDC include "Eat Well & Get Moving" and "Planet Health," designed by the Harvard School of Public Health. These could be adapted as a framework for Vermont.
Alison Howe, The University of Vermont
Katy Davis, Hunger Free Vermont
Hunger Free Vermont
Early and Middle Childhood, Educational and Community-Based Programs, Nutrition and Weight Status
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Worrall, Garyn; Greene, Allison; Cooper, Suven; Gause, Francis G. IV; Saunders, Patrick; Lambert, Daniel; Misir, Rebekah; Howe, Alison; and Davis, Katy, "Nutrition Education in Vermont Public Schools" (2017). Public Health Projects, 2008-present. 248.