An Assessment of Nutrition Education in Selected Counties in New York State Elementary Schools (Kindergarten through Fifth Grade)

Sheldon O. Watts, Domingo J. Piñero, Mark M. Alter, Kristie J. Lancaster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To assess the extent to which nutrition education is implemented in selected counties in New York State elementary schools (kindergarten through fifth grade) and explore how nutrition knowledge is presented in the classroom and what factors support it. Design: Cross-sectional, self-administered survey. Setting: New York State elementary schools in selected counties. Participants: New York State elementary school teachers (n = 137). Main Outcome Measures: Hours spent teaching nutrition; nutrition topics, methods of teaching, education resources, and aspects of the school environment that may influence nutrition education. Analysis: Crosstabs with a chi-square statistic and ANOVA. Results: Eighty-three percent of teachers taught some nutrition (9.0 ± 10.5 hours) during the academic year. Teachers taught lessons about finding and choosing healthy food (61%), relationship between diet and health (54%), and MyPyramid (52%) most often. Suburban teachers (12.4 ± 12.5 hours) taught significantly (P = .006) more hours of nutrition than rural teachers (4.2 ± 3.9 hours). Teachers at schools with fewer than 80% nonwhite students taught significantly (P = .02) more (10.4 ± 11.4 hours) compared to schools with greater than 80% nonwhite students (5.6 ± 6.4 hours). Conclusions and Implications: Teachers reported that nutrition education is important and that they are willing to teach nutrition. Efforts should be made that support integrated nutrition topics, methods of instruction, and availability of resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-480
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Assessment
  • Child
  • Nutrition education
  • Overweight
  • Rural
  • Teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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