Success StorySNAP-Education Making a Huge Impact Among Youth Development in a Pandemic



SNAP-Education Making a Huge Impact Among Youth Development in a Pandemic

Author: Jessica Reed

Planning Unit: KSU Administration

Major Program: Nutrition and Food Systems General

Outcome: Intermediate Outcome

Obesity rates among the United States starts in the early childhood years. According to https://chfs.ky.gov, Kentucky has one of the highest pediatric obesity rates within the United States. Kentucky sets with an approximately 38% of the children ages 10-17 years old are either overweight or obese compared to the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart for their ages. Children in Kentucky are less likely to get four days of physically active per a week and spend more than two hours a day behind technology devices, like a computer screen and television.  According to the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System in 2006, 35.3% children ages 0-4 years old in Kentucky are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity has immediate and long-term effects on health. Youth that are obese are more likely to develop risk factors for cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, joint issues, sleep apnea, social stigmatization, and poor self-esteem. Obese and overweight issues have a huge impact on the economic of health care. The cost of treating obesity or related issues is on a rise within Kentucky, costing over $1.2 billion in health care cost.   

Montgomery County, Kentucky has four public elementary schools with grades preschool- fifth grade. Montgomery County Schools have partnered with Kentucky State University SNAP-Education for over four years doing programming within all schools in the district. Since the 2020 pandemic due to Covid-19, Kentucky State University has offered programming multiple ways: in-person and virtual options. Camargo Elementary School choose virtual programming for the current 2021-2022 school year to their first graders. The first graders learn about the importance of developing a healthy eating pattern, healthy food groups, the total amount of foods recommended in each group, hand washing, and the importance of daily physical activity. Students used the Organ Wise Guys programming to help embrace knowledge and understanding of a healthy lifestyle starting within a young age. 

Camargo Elementary School and Kentucky State University began the current SNAP-Education programming with Organ Wise Guys in fall 2021 and continue using the virtual programming into spring 2022. A pretest was given to each first-grade student to see where their beginning knowledge of food groups, physical activity, hand washing and common habits for a healthy lifestyle. There were 104 first graders with the programming at Camargo Elementary School. There were 40% improvement in knowledge of kids being active. Correctly circling vegetables improved 47%. Knowledge of what a healthy snack is improved by 48%. Knowing what foods fall into the dairy group improved by 68%, and knowing what fruits are improved by 51%. The knowledge of knowing the correct methods and reasoning to keep handwashing important to reduce sickness improved by 65%. SNAP-Education working with the youth will make a difference in the lives of Montgomery Counties present and future terms.  

  

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