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FoodWise direct education improves youth eating habits in Wisconsin

Oct 17, 2018

FoodWIse is a program of University of Wisconsin-Extension that teaches students in school-based settings about healthy eating. 

FoodWIse lessons emphasize:

  • eating more fruits and vegetables 
  • decreasing sugar-sweetened beverages
children in nutrition education class

Changes in Students

Paula is a nutrition educator with FoodWise.  One of the students in the fourth grade classroom she regularly visits, has made big changes since the lessons began.

“[The student's] mother remarked on what a positive impact your nutrition lessons have had on her son's eating habits,” said the teacher in the fourth grade classroom that hosts Paula.

“Since early winter, he expects to eat a salad at least every other day. He also wants broccoli at least twice a week. When the mother returns from the grocery store, her son quickly asks her, ‘Did you get my broccoli, Mom?’”

This student is one of 20,119 children in grades 3 through 5 reached by FoodWIse in Fiscal Year 2017. Education occurred in 65 of 72 of Wisconsin counties. FoodWIse reaches children in school, after school and during the summer.  

Educators teach a series of 5-to-8 lessons, using evidence-based curricula, including:   

After engaging in the lessons, students saw big improvements. Of 10,000 3rd through 5th graders surveyed, 19% ate more servings of vegetables. Almost 1 in 5 (18%) reported drinking fewer sugar sweetened beverages. This was noted after participating in lessons in Fiscal Year 2017.    

Family Education

In addition to education in schools, FoodWIse provides indirect education to families. Educators share newsletters and talk with parents and caregivers. One teacher noted the impact of lessons on parents. She reported “I have had one parent contact me to ask about a recipe that was made in class, because their child wouldn't stop asking for it.” 

Mary is another FoodWIse educator. She reported that a parent flagged her down in the parking lot as she was leaving school one day. The mother said,"Mrs. Mary! Mrs. Mary! Thank you for the nutrition lessons at our school. It is very important for our kids and families." The mother shared that she reads FoodWIse newsletters and tries many of the ideas. 

SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework

FoodWIse efforts promote Healthy Eating Goals and Behaviors and Healthy Eating (SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework: ST1 & MT1). 


This story was submitted by University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension, a SNAP-Ed implementing agency. For more information, please contact Amber Canto.

Evaluation Framework Indicators