Faculty Mentor

Traci Rader




Objectives: Low health literacy has been shown to lead to poor nutritional knowledge and behaviors, higher rates of obesity, increased emergency department use, and more medication errors. The objective of this study was to determine if implementing lessons on nutrition during class would increase health literacy in third graders at Gervais Elementary School.

Methods: Three third grade classes (n = 44), were assessed for health literacy using the Adapted Newest Vital Sign. Prior to assessment, two classes were randomly chosen to be the intervention groups, and the remaining class was chosen to be the control group. After the screening assessment, two 30-minute lessons regarding how to read nutrition labels and follow MyPlate guidelines to create a balanced meal were implemented into the intervention classrooms. Afterwards, all students (n = 38) were re-screened with the Adapted Newest Vital Sign to gather post-intervention data and the data was analyzed.

Results: After conducting both assessments, data were collected and analyzed in the form of a comprehensive bar chart. In the post-assessment, classes 1 and 2 were eliminated from the lowest scoring category and the highest category increased from 7 to 16.

Implications: These results showed that health literacy can be improved significantly in third graders after just two 30-minute lessons on nutrition. Health lessons should be implemented in all K-12 grade levels to improve health literacy in students. Increased health literacy in children can lead to better health outcomes in adults.

Keywords: health literacy, elementary school, third grade, nutrition, lesson plans, MyPlate, Newest Vital Sign.






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