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UC Cooperative Extension CalFresh teaches healthy eating behaviors

The Issue

UC Cooperative Extension CalFresh teaches healthy eating behaviors
Nutrition Educator Jeff Tibayan in the classroom.
UCCE CalFresh education targets schools with more than 50 percent of students receiving free or reduced price school meals. (CalFresh is the name of the food assistance program formerly called food stamps.) The program aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, increase variety in food choices, and promote healthy lifestyles for youth. Teachers, youth program leaders, and other extenders at the participating sites are trained to deliver UCCE CalFresh nutrition curricula such as Reading Across MyPyramid, Happy Healthy Me, and Eating Healthy from Farm to Fork. UCCE CalFresh in Santa Clara County provides nutrition education curricula to 57 qualifying low-income schools and agencies who reach 4,500 children. CalFresh nutrition educators collect teacher evaluations annually to improve delivery and outcomes of the program.

What Has ANR Done?

UCCE CalFresh developed a retrospective, web-based teacher evaluation tool as a method for evaluating the effectiveness of their youth nutrition education program. The Teacher Observation Tool (TOT) collects information on teachers’ perceptions and observations related to changes in knowledge and behavior of students and themselves after delivering UC developed nutrition curricula. In 2011, 104 teachers and after-school leaders in Santa Clara County completed the TOT.

The Payoff

Improving the school food environment

Results indicate that at least 86 percent of the teachers and after-school leaders in UCCE CalFresh Santa Clara County report a positive change in their students’ food behavior as a result of the program. For example, teachers reported that 94 percent of students learned to identify healthier food options and a majority reported choosing fruits and/or vegetables in the cafeteria or during classroom parties more often by the end of the school year. UCCE CalFresh impacted teachers’ behaviors as well with 84 percent of the teachers and after-school leaders reporting their own personal behavior had changed by using the program in their classroom. More than 90 percent of the teachers reported making healthier personal food choices.

Clientele Testimonial

“I really enjoy the program, especially when I hear my children tell me, ‘Teacher, look! My eyes are shiny because I'm eating Glow Food!’” - (Lessons teach students that fruits and vegetables are "glow" foods that make them shine.)


Supporting Unit:

Santa Clara County
Susan Algert, (408) 282-3104,