Fuel for Fun
An estimated 31.7% of U.S. children and adolescents are considered to be overweight or obese. In recent years, Colorado’s ranking for childhood obesity rates dramatically worsened from 3rd (most healthy) to 23rd place. Fuel for Fun Cooking with Kids Plus Parents and Play is an innovative in-school program to encourage healthful food and physical activity behaviors in 4th-grade students and their families. Its long-term goal is to reduce the risk of childhood obesity by promoting healthful food and activity environments, policies, and behaviors. The program is composed of 5 evidence-based components, and was implemented in 8 schools in Fort Collins and Loveland in school years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.
Fuel for Fun Classroom – hands-on cooking and tasting lessons developed to enhance cooking skills and provide positive experiences with a wide variety of wholesome, healthy foods
Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK) Active Recess program – promotes quality, daily, physical activity in youth and is designed to encourage maximum participation for every player, regardless of ability
Fuel for Fun Cafeteria Connection – links the classroom lessons to healthful foods in the school cafeteria and uses a variety of strategies to encourage students to make more healthful choices
Fuel for Fun Family – designed to engage parents, encourage their participation and reinforce what students experience through the Fuel for Fun classroom, recess, and cafeteria components
About Eating – a 6-lesson, on-line healthy eating and activity resource for busy parents
Evaluation of how Fuel for Fun impacts 4th-graders and their parents’ food behaviors and physical activity levels will be completed in 2017. Future Fuel for Fun work will include adapting it for use by Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) paraprofessionals in schools and providing resource kits to school districts. Fuel for Fun is an integrated research project funded through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information contact Leslie Cunningham-Sabo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Healthy Planet, Healthy You
Healthy Planet, Healthy Youth (HPHY) aims to investigate, implement and evaluate strategies for food waste reduction and food recovery in Northern Colorado public schools while concomitantly improving student diet quality. These aims will be achieved through the following objectives:
- Understand stakeholders’ facilitators and barriers to food waste reduction in the school meal program, including opportunities for policy change
- Leverage the growing consumer interest in sustainable food systems to reduce food waste and increase student consumption of school meals, especially vegetables, among middle school students
- Identify opportunities for food rescue and other ways to prevent landfill disposal of food
HPHY is informed by the Healthy Planet, Healthy Youth Steering Committee, which includes staff from the Colorado Department of Education, Greeley-Evans School District, Poudre School District, Thompson School District, and CSU Extension, as well as CSU faculty in the Departments of Agriculture and Resource Economics, Biology, Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Psychology, and the Colorado School of Public Health.
Current HPHY initiatives include in-depth interviews of local nutrition services directors and kitchen mangers, school kitchen and cafeteria observations, and student focus groups.
HPHY is funded by the Colorado School of Public Health.
Colorado Department of Education Collaboration
Child nutrition programs throughout the U.S. have the capacity to influence two important factors currently affecting many children in the U.S. today: obesity and hunger. With rates of childhood obesity at epidemic proportions and child hunger affecting millions of children, providing nutritious, high quality meals in schools has become increasingly important. At the same time, regulations governing what and how school meals can be served have become increasingly complicated. This adds to the burden of school foodservice professionals who are striving to serve both nutritious and appetizing choices to students, with very limited budgets. As the importance and impact of school meal programs on children’s health and educational opportunities become more apparent, training, skills, and competencies of school foodservice professionals are recognized as key goals.
The Colorado Department of Education’s Office of School Nutrition (CDE-OSN) oversees the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) School Meals Programs in Colorado. In 2015 the USDA implemented a new rule mandating all school nutrition employees meet annual training requirements. CDE-OSN has received a Professional Standards Training Grant to aid Colorado districts in implementing the new training requirements. Currently, the CDE-OSN provides a two-hour orientation, School Nutrition 101. However, required competency in multiple areas in addition to typical kitchen duties, including state and federal regulations, presents a need for an expanded training. As a result, the CDE-OSN has contracted with CSU FSHN to develop and expand this orientation training. For more information contact Leslie Cunningham-Sabo at email@example.com.
Maternal and Child Health Traineeship
A Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Nutrition Traineeship (stipend and tuition support) is offered each year to a CSU community nutrition or CSPH public health nutrition graduate student with prior experience and a passion for improving child and family health. The trainee is prepared for leadership in nutrition practice, policy and advocacy for mothers, families, children and youth. The traineeship is funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau offered through the MCH Nutrition Leadership Training Program at UCLA’s School of Public Health, in collaboration with partners at Colorado State University, Arizona State University, Oregon Health and Sciences University, and University of Washington. Trainees also attend a conference to learn more about MCH nutrition topics and interact with MCH nutrition leaders in the western states. Opportunities to participate in a national meeting with academic partners and trainees throughout the US may also be possible. Together trainees complete a leadership project advocating for MCH nutrition. Any incoming CSU FSHN or Colorado School of Public Health graduate students interested in this opportunity should contact Dr. Cunningham-Sabo (firstname.lastname@example.org). Students who are Registered Dietitian Nutritionists or with aspirations to become one, and who are from a diverse background are especially encouraged to apply.