Smart Nutrition and Conditioning for Kids (SNACK): An Interprofessional Approach to Nutrition and Physical Education
Repository Posting Date2017-07-17T16:12:45Z
Author DetailsTracy J. Perron, PhD, RN, CNE, CSN; Tami L. Jakubowski; Anne Farrell
Lead Author Sigma AffliationDelta Nu
Other Title(s)Preventing Childhood Obesity
Level of EvidenceN/A
Purpose: The purpose of SNACK was to increase the fitness and health of elementary school age children and to empower parents and caregivers to encourage healthy food choices. SNACK was developed in response to the 2010 Childhood Obesity Study recognizing a 49% childhood obesity rate in Trenton, New Jersey. Lifestyle influences contributing to childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes mellitus include poor food choices, inadequate access to healthy foods, decreased physical activity and insufficient access to safe play environments. SNACK provided nutrition lessons to second grade students in an urban and urban rim elementary school during regularly scheduled physical education class. SNACK included physical activity and health education in the areas of fitness, healthy eating, and healthy lifestyles. The implementation of SNACK was aimed at reducing the risks for obesity and Type 2 diabetes in school age children. The overarching premise was that if children and parents/guardians are reached at an early age before lifestyle choices are ingrained: healthy behaviors can be formed to potentially reduce the incidence of chances they will face obesity and type 2 diabetes. It is important to engage parents/caregivers to encourage healthy food choices and increased physical activity at home as well as in the school to maximize health benefits to children.
Methods: An interprofessional collaborative model (IPC) in conjunction with the Coordinated School Health Program provided guidelines for the establishment of a diverse multidisciplinary group to improve the health of urban/urban rim children. The intervention was performed twice a week in physical education class for 8 weeks. Pre and post Fitnessgram fitness tests (FIT) were completed by each child. Pre and post study nutritional knowledge assessments were completed by each child. Nutrition lesson plans were developed to educate the children on healthy eating in a fun, interactive manner during physical education class. Video links were provided on the participating schools’ websites to inform parents of the nutrition content being addressed during the SNACK program.
Results: The SNACK program afforded participants with opportunities to share ideas from their discipline with members of the interprofessional team to positively impact all participating members. The College of New Jersey School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science developed new and stronger partnerships with urban and urban rim schools. Undergraduate majors observed faculty and other professionals’ model continued learning, interest in their discipline and in those of others while collaborating with peers. Fitnessgram fitness test (FIT) scores improved for all fitness tests for both the experimental and control groups in both schools (p < .05). Significant differences between groups was found in 4 areas of FIT testing: PACER, push-up, curl-ups, and long jump (p < .05). CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) nutritional knowledge improved overall with the experimental group in both schools (p < .05). The CATCH Healthy Choices survey improved with the experimental groups in both schools (p > .05). Videos may have encouraged parents to include healthier food choices into their family meals or spurred conversation with their children about healthy food habits. SNACK elementary school students and their parents found the program to be informative and fun.
Conclusion: A coordinated school health program (CSHP) can be implemented to meet the needs of the whole child and maximize the positive effects on student, schools, and communities while integrating cooperation of multiple disciplines. The FIT program is one example of an approach to improving fitness levels with minimal time and resources. SNACK an interdisciplinary approach to early intervention that teaches children how improve their fitness, nutrition and overall health.