PE-Nut™: A Whole-school Intervention for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

State: Michigan. Agency Type: Non-profit. Food and Nutrition Service Region: Midwest.

graphic for the pe-nut program

Developed by the Michigan Fitness Foundation, PE-Nut™ is a multi-component, wholeschool intervention that focuses on health behavior changes at both the classroom and school levels as well as in the home. In doing so, the program provides both teacher and student input on those changes.

Each of the four program components was developed to teach children why and how to make healthy food choices, the importance of physical activity, and the skills necessary to be active for life. One of the components, Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools, focuses on transforming the classroom environment through healthy snack policies; healthy school meal and vending machine options; visual cues and messaging in the classroom and throughout the school; role modeling by teachers and students; classroom policies for not using food as rewards; and healthy classroom party policies. These serve as examples that collectively result in positive shifts in social norms that are prevalent in schools.

Program outcome evaluations have built the evidence base with indicators that match those in the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework to establish the PE-Nut™ program as a best practice intervention for increasing student consumption of healthy foods and physical activity. The success of PE-Nut™ comes from its multi-level approach to interventions. More specifically, the activities not only teach nutrition concepts and promote physical activity, but they also offer opportunities for students to apply what they learn by trying healthy foods and by being physically active throughout the day. Sending the messages into the home helps to ensure a long-lasting impact.

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