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Health and Nutrition Programs

Team Nutrition “Smart Choices”

This program strives to address the public health issue of childhood obesity through building basic skills related to food selection and promoting an increased variety of nutritious foods consumed especially vegetables and fruits.

In its 13th year, the purpose of the Team Nutrition program is to:

  1. increase both teachers’ and students’ awareness of the components of a healthful diet and
  2. increase teachers’ competence and confidence in delivering nutrition lessons.

This program provides an annually updated nutrition curriculum to participating elementary schools, with accompanying in-service teacher training, grade-specific in-class nutrition instruction (which includes fruit and vegetable sampling), a school wide food tasting activity, and distribution of three nutrition newsletters to teachers and parents. Follow-up program evaluation with principals, teachers and staff permits program refinement and assesses program impact.


The public health issue of childhood obesity is widely recognized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003, recommends that school environments be created that support healthy eating habits. This project supports that initiative. The importance of providing nutrition education in elementary schools has been documented, as eating patterns shift and solidify as children advance to middle school age. Exposure through vegetable and fruit tasting experiences has been shown to help shape food attitudes and subsequent behaviors and preferences. Increasing teacher involvement, confidence and competence to provide basic nutrition education concepts is a critical link in promoting healthy behaviors.

What Has Been Done:

As of spring 2010, the Team Nutrition in-service presentations — which provide an overview of the issue of childhood obesity and the importance of healthful eating and physical activity habits — have reached 511 teachers at nine schools having multiple year participation. One hundred ninety six lessons have been taught, resulting in 6,376 student and 225 teacher contacts. The schoolwide fruit tasting events reached 4,965 students. One hundred twenty five parents attended out-of-school nutrition presentations. Implementation of the 2010 program year is in progress with five schools participating.


Post- program evaluation findings included:

  • 100 percent of teacher respondents who had received at least one in-class lesson felt the lessons were either "Very Effective" (68 percent) or "Somewhat Effective" (32 percent).
  • Increasing the number of lessons taught to each class led to significant increases (Pearson correlations, p <.05) in 1) teacher awareness of MyPyramid for Kids concepts, 2) teacher preparedness to teach those concepts, and 3) the amount of nutrition content teachers made available to students outside of the Team Nutrition program.
  • 71 percent reported they are now better prepared to teach MyPyramid for Kids concepts
  • 69 percent reported 1) an increased awareness of the MyPyramid for Kids concepts, 2) a better understanding of the Dietary Guidelines, and 3) felt the program helped them understand and support the Washoe County School District Wellness Policy

Washoe County School District’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

Health and Nutrition Programs

Programs Program Information

All 4 Kids

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s All 4 Kids: Healthy, Happy, Active, Fit program is an interdisciplinary approach to addressing child obesity. Developed by Cooperative Extension faculty from maternal/child nutrition, exercise physiology and child development, the All 4 Kids program helps children meet the Nevada Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) Standards while encouraging preschool children and families to practice healthy eating habits and be active every day.

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

Food Safety Project

Grow Yourself Healthy

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS)

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS) is a compilation of evidence-based engagement and assessment tools that is used to audit and map community environmental features that support and/or hinder healthful eating and physical activity among community members. The MAPPS method integrates photography, participatory community mapping using global positioning system (GPS) technology, and residents’ voiced perceptions of their community. HEAL MAPPS engages people in community-based participatory research to document attributes of the rural community environment that are perceived by residents as obesity preventing or promoting and assess the local resources and readiness to implement community-level obesity prevention strategies to prevent unhealthy weight gain/overweight and obesity among children and their families.

Healthy Eating on a Budget

The Healthy Eating on a Budget program has been integrated into the TANF Work Readiness workshop as a SNAP-Ed program. The purpose of the 8-lesson series is to provide SNAP recipients with education on healthy nutrition and physical activity practices, food resource management, food safety and food security.

Healthy Kids Festival

The goal of the Healthy Kids Festival is to provide sustainable tools and opportunities for low income families with young children (ages 3-8) to make healthy choices as he/she approaches the adolescent years. The event, hosted by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s All 4 Kids program in collaboration with local community partners provides long term solutions to childhood obesity through physical activity, healthy eating and other behaviors related to childhood obesity prevention.

Healthy Steps to Freedom

Spinach Chicken Pomegranate salad

Nevada Radon Education Program

The Nevada Radon Education Program is a partnership with the Nevada State Health Division to educate Nevadans about the possible health risk posed by elevated levels of radon in the home. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) offers literature, educational programs and radon test kits in many county Extension offices.

Pick a better snack™ (formerly Chefs for Kids)

This evidence-based campaign focuses on building fruit and vegetable consumption in children through healthy snacking. Pick a better snack™ is a monthly, in-school nutrition education program for primary grade children in at-risk elementary schools in Clark and Washoe counties in Nevada. In addition to direct instruction, staff works with school wellness coordinators to build meaningful and sustainable programming to create a well environment in every school.

Small Steps 4 Big Changes

Parent involvement is recognized as a key factor in making wise food selections and shaping food and health behavior attitudes that affect the child’s habits and food preferences. Conducted in partnership with the 4-H Youth Development Program, a series of ten nutrition lessons incorporate recipe preparation, food sampling and physical activity segments, with additional nutrition education content for the parent or adult caregiver. All lesson segments are focused on thriving within a limited budget, as well as increasing fruit and vegetable intake. This program has been successfully offered to five Reno Housing Authority (RHA) and other 4-H After School Program sites since the initial launch of the pilot program. The program fosters behavior changes identified by the Centers for Disease Control as being linked to childhood obesity prevention.

Team Nutrition “Smart Choices”

This program strives to address the public health issue of childhood obesity through building basic skills related to food selection and promoting an increased variety of nutritious foods consumed especially vegetables and fruits.

Veggies for Kids

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s (UNCE) Veggies for Kids program takes a proactive approach toward eating and experiencing different kinds of vegetables for American Indian children at a young age.