Team Nutrition is an initiative of USDA launched in 1995. The story of Team Nutrition begins with an initiative to provide students with healthy meals at schools. It began at the time of a change in Federal regulations, that updated the nutrition standards for school meals, requiring them to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
USDA recognized that simply publishing a regulation is not likely to change children’s diets. This led to the establishment of Team Nutrition to ensure that schools are able to implement the plan
The use of multiple channels to reach children is a tenet of Social Learning Theory – a theoretical framework that provides an explanation of how individuals make behavior choices. Social Learning Theory is the underlying theory for Team Nutrition
The four core TN messages are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines
The premise of Social Learning Theory is that personal characteristics, environmental factors and behaviors interact dynamically. Nutrition education projects grounded in Social Learning Theory, rely on multiple personal and environmental factors to influence behavior.
TN is based on 3 Behavior-oriented strategies Training and t.a. for foodservice professionals to help them: Plan and prepare healthy meals that look good, meet nutrition standards, and appeal to ethnic and cultural taste preferences Link school meal programs with other educational initiatives and use the dining room as a learning center practices sound financial accountability in CNP operations Provide multifaceted, integrated nutrition education for children and their parents, as well as the adults who care for them and influence their behavior by Delivering consistent TN messages of healthy eating and being physically active Reinforcing the messages through six communication channels And the third strategy to Build school and community support by: Adopting and implementing school policies that promote healthy eating and physical activity Providing resources to help schools achieve success Fostering a school and community environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity.
In 1995, USDA launched a pilot implementation of Team Nutrition with two purposes: 1) To systematically document the implementation process, and 2) to evaluate whether the project results in healthier food choices by students. Overall TN activities are to be implemented from pre-school through the middle-school years. During this time students are continually exposed to TN messages through curricula, school-based activities, cafeteria-based activities, community events, and the mass media. In the pilot projects, implementation was required at a minimum of three grade levels, within prek-k, 1-3 and 3-5. With the formal evaluation outcome focusing on one grade level – 4 th for one semester, with the basic design applied twice – allowing for measurement of initial impact and sustainability – 6 months later. Des Moines was one of the 4 Districts nationally that participated in both the outcome and process portions of the evaluation. The other 3 districts were involved in process evaluation only.
The Results showed: TN modestly increased the skill-based knowledge and motivation to eat healthier There were some, but not consistently, positive impacts across the different measures of eating behavior – perhaps impacted by the limited period of implementation…. Multiple channels of implementation strengthened TN effects Overall – TN resulted in statistically significant improvements on at least selected measures of eating behavior.
Through the 1997 TN Grant Iowa learned, sustainability of support through the AEA’s would be an ongoing challenge – because funds were not available to support the identification of an individual or a portion of an individuals time to support this initiative. Although, everyone was in agreement that this was a logical place for a support network to exist – other aspects of education were the priority, even though there was recognition, a healthy child – well nourished and physically active, is better able to learn what is being taught in the classroom. In 1999 Iowa became one of four states along with Michigan – of which Annie was part as you have heard, Idaho, and Kansas to receive grants for the USDA TN Demo Project . One of the purposes of the Demo was to assist USDA in the development of a resource for schools that would address how to “Get it Started with TN…….and Keep it Going” One of the things Iowa did as part of the Demonstration Project was to begin to look at other partners with similar interests where this ongoing support for schools might logically reside and be able to co-exist because of common goals. Extension became the logical partner – both are USDA programs, selected staff have specific responsibilities in the areas of nutrition, health, family, community partnerships, etc. USDA had introduced the Community Nutrition Action Kit for TN in late 1996. This kit was distributed to every Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service Office in the country, so it was clear USDA expected some level of involvement by Extension in this initiative. So partnering with Extension staff to help introduce and support TN both within the schools and within the community was a logical connection. Train the Trainer sessions equipped Extension staff to be the educator of teachers throughout the state on how to implement the TN program – especially utilization of the TN Curriculum.
Iowa was one of the first states to early on also begin to look at taking TN beyond the school and into the early childhood setting………through the Child and Adult Care Food Program participants. When the most previous set of the Dietary Guidelines were released – Iowa developed Physical Activity and Snack cards to use in helping CACFP participants see how to put the Dietary Guidelines into action in their place of work A train the trainer approach was again used to train about 75 individuals, including extension staff, CACFP program sponsors, and Resource and Referral area staff on the use of this resource.
The Snack and Activity cards – include a simple snack on one side – ones kids could help make And a Physical Activity on the other side. Printed on plastic coated 4 x 6 cards held together with a ring binder, they are easy for care givers to flip through or take apart and slip in a pocket or lay on a table for use. In addition throughout the cards you will see a reading link that ties in somehow to the recipe.
The next logical step was the development of a self assessment tool and policies and best practices to support the previous materials. These were packaged with other USDA resources in what we called the “Setting the Stage Kit” a Child Care Version of the USDA Changing the Scene kit.
The Setting the Stage Kit included – Iowa Developed resources The Policy and Best Practice Cards Lessons for use with the early childhood age, to supplement the TN prek-k curriculum Training Video – in centers and homes illustrating the Policies and Best Practices in Action “ Pick a Better Snack” posters and CD’s for other resources Exploring Foods Work Book Resources from Iowa Public Television regarding using educational television to support nutrition and being physically active And a Number of USDA Resources including: “ Making Nutrition Count for Children” “ Menu Magic for Children” The Food Guide Pyramid for Young Children Meal Pattern Charts And the Nibbles for Health Resource is considered part of this total Kit.
With the support of funding in subsequent grants, Iowa has continued its work across all program areas to encourage programs to conduct an initial self assessment, followed by the development of an action plan, and to annually update the assessment with the goal of improved healthier nutrition and physical activity environments and behaviors by program participants at all levels CACFP – using the Setting the Stage Kit School Programs – using the Changing the Scene Kit and even with Summer Food Service Programs All program participants also have the opportunity to apply for mini-grant funding to support through the funds available in the TN Grants received by the state, to support their work. Extension continues to be an active partner in all programs – providing training to trainers and as guest speakers for classrooms and other training. Mini-grants are awarded to the agency/institution participating in the CNP, but are available for staff initiated projects, to student initiated projects as well as mentoring by experienced TN sponsors with new programs.
Another resource developed by Iowa to support the USDA Calendar of Events is our TN Event Calendar Kit One of these is at our display table, ………….. If you care to take a look and haven’t been by already.
Most recently, Extension has partnered with the DE and Iowa Public Television, to provide direct instruction to classrooms of selected TN lessons over IPTV’s k-12 connections, delivered over the two way interactive television system in Iowa. This will be followed this fall with the offering of formal training over the Iowa Communication Network to provide Teacher training, for credit on full implementation of TN utilizing the TN curriculum materials. Iowa Public Television has also partnered with us in the development of Interstitials, related to the snack and activity cards, as well as more recently Healthy Minute messages to promote consumption of breakfast, being active, eating more fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors, and healthy snacking. All of these continue to air on Public Television during programming for the early childhood and early elementary programming.
Another thing we are doing in Iowa is ………….Linking with other state initiatives whenever appropriate
One of those initiatives, funded extensively initially with Team Nutrition, has been expanded by partnering with others – Iowa Department of Public Health has used in WIC, Food Stamp Nutrition Education initiatives, etc. Extension has used in the community in a variety of ways – in and out of schools, it has been used in conjunction with Farmers Markets and Senior Nutrition/feeding programs.
The PABS social marketing program links perfectly with the TN message to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Plus links perfectly with the TN community channel by encouraging partnerships with Grocery stores as you see here.
And even includes an easy way to support the media channel as shown with this bill board, ideas for radio spots, and newsletters.
Stop by our display table to see some more examples of the PABS program and the lessons and bingo cards which have been developed to support this initiative to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption.
What then is the implementation structure in Iowa? We have been working with a core team, as described on the screen, since the early days of implementation with the Partners for Healthy Kids added as a member in the fall of 2003, following the National Action for Healthy Kids Conference.
Through our work over the pilot, demo, and other grants we have found developing and maintaining the community connections or partnerships is one of the more difficult things for schools to do. Extension has helped to fill that void both as a partner member interested in health of kids and adults, but also as individuals trained in organizing, and sustaining community based initiatives and with strong facilitation skills to help bring diverse groups with common interests together – a most logical linkage for schools
Some of the things Iowa is doing with TN that not all states are……………
In the Iowa TN Programs we are emphasizing
Some of the key USDA resources you might be interested in taking a closer look at if you aren’t familiar. Getting it Started and Keeping it Going – is the how to book developed through the work of the TN Demo Changing the Scene kit – is the self assessment tool for Schools to promote a Healthier School Environment Getting your message out – is a TN guide for working with the media Eat Smart Play Hard campaign is an FNS wide initiative, using Power Panther as it spokesperson The TN Curriculum, the Community Nutrition Action Kit And The Power of Choice a leaders guide for working with youth to promote healthier nutrition and physical activity habits.
Pictured here are these and other resources.
The Changing the Scene Kit includes an extensive self assessment tool looking at these categories
The Changing the Scene Kit is one of the tools we have been encouraging our TN programs to utilize. With the recent passage of the requirement for a School District Wellness Policy – we are putting an increased emphasis on using this or a similar resource to conduct a self-assessment prior to developing the local policy.
For any of you that may not be familiar with the requirement, and were not able to attend the session today by Derek Miller from Senator Harkin’s office on the Wellness Policy requirement – since you are here briefly -
The Iowa Partners for Healthy Kids working closely with the Iowa Association of School Boards, and Partner Members representing the various groups required at the Local Level are developing sample policies, identifying resources, and providing training/guidance to local school districts.
In closing, I leave you with this
Iowa Department of Education Division of Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau of Nutrition Programs and School Transportation Julia Thorius, M.S. R.D. L.D.
1999 Three year Demonstration Project Grant (4 states nationally, 10 schools participated in Iowa project)
2000 TN Training Grant - focused on Early Childhood population in childcare and schools. Physical Activity and Healthy Snack resources were developed to support caregivers in putting the Dietary Guidelines into practice.
2001 Team Nutrition Training Grant - Creating healthy eating and physical activity environments in the childcare setting. Self-evaluation of current policies and best practices using the Iowa “Setting the Stage” kit.
2002 School focused Team Nutrition Training Grant - assisted schools with forming teams to evaluate current policies and best practices using the USDA Changing the Scene kit.
2003 Team Nutrition Training Grant - Built on previous three grants with the intent of encouraging more program participants (SP, CACFP, SFSP) to become involved in some aspect of the TN initiative. Continued mini-grants to support action for all program areas.
2004 Team Nutrition Training Grant – Focus on training teachers to utilize the Team Nutrition Curriculum. Expansion of mini-grant opportunities across all Child Nutrition Programs to include student initiated projects and TN mentoring.