Teaching Healthy Eating to Elementary School Students

A Scoping Review of Nutrition Education Resources

Louisa R. Peralta*, Dean A. Dudley, Wayne G. Cotton

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: School-based programs represent an ideal setting to enhance healthy eating, as most children attend school regularly and consume at least one meal and a number of snacks at school each day. However, current research reports that elementary school teachers often display low levels of nutritional knowledge, self-efficacy, and skills to effectively deliver nutrition education. Methods: The purpose of this review was to understand the availability and quality of resources that are accessible for elementary school teachers to use to support curriculum delivery or nutrition education programs. The review included 32 resources from 4 countries in the final analysis from 1989 to 2014. Results: The 32 resources exhibited 8 dominant teaching strategies: curriculum approaches; cross-curricular approaches; parental involvement; experiential learning approaches; contingent reinforcement approaches; literary abstraction approaches; games-based approaches; and web-based approaches. The resources were accessible to elementary school teachers, with all the resources embedding curriculum approaches, and most of the resources embedding parental involvement strategies. Conclusions: Resources were less likely to embed cross-curricular and experiential learning approaches, as well as contingent reinforcement approaches, despite recent research suggesting that the most effective evidence-based strategies for improving healthy eating in elementary school children are cross-curricular and experiential learning approaches.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)334-345
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of School Health
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


    • Child and adolescent health
    • Nutrition and diet
    • Professional preparation of school health personnel

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