Effects of Education in Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle in Children
This review of literature discussed the effects of education intervention within the middle to high school aged population in promoting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports the fact that all children and adolescents regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, racial, ethnic, linguistic diversity, or health status should have access to food and nutrition programs that promote optimal development. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has identified areas of focus that are crucial for the success of education intervention for students. These consist of: helping middle and high school aged students understand the importance of taking home what they learn to their families; surrounding themselves with peers who promote positive habits, and choosing healthier food options. Three programs were reviewed in this paper. All three programs have been implemented to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle in school children: SmallSteps4Life, Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it! (MEND), and FoodDudes. All programs showed improvement, measured by BMI, waist circumference, or an increase in the daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. There has been an increased focus on school funding and requirements for education regarding a healthy lifestyle. The funding provides the schools access to programs such as FoodDudes, MEND, and other related programs states or schools might support. In general, consistency and frequency of nutrition education is and will be vital for the goal of ensuring students are aware of a healthy lifestyle.