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Dietetics-Students Promoting National Nutrition Month in the Alachua County Middle Schools: MS-DI and undergraduate dietetics students team up to develop nutrition education materials
By Jamie Stolarz, MS-DI Student c/o 2011

Alachua County Middle Schools were in for a nutritious treat this March for National Nutrition Month. UF’s Master of Science-Dietetic Internship (MS-DI) class of 2011-Rebecca Clinton, Lisa Chan, Leila Kalley, Julie Martinez, Anghela Paredes, and Jamie Stolarz- led teams of undergraduate dietetics students enrolled in Dr. McMahon’s Community Nutrition class in the development and implementation of six nutrition education and wellness projects. Each MS-DI student led a team of 7-8 students over the course of a semester to develop a project for their assigned middle school. The projects were then implemented at six different Alachua County Middle Schools during school lunches and/or aftercare programs. The projects were titled: Don’t Fear the Crunch, Eat the Rainbow, Fill Up on Fiber, Get Mooooving with Milk, Snacking Smart, and Step Up to the Plate. All projects included goals and objectives, advertisements, time lines, to do lists, lesson plans, supporting materials, and evaluation tools. Some of the projects even included snacks, games, prizes, and supplemental educational materials.

All of the projects were a success and were well-received by the middle school students.

A binder was created with all the projects and an electronic copy of the materials.  The binder was presented to the Alachua County School Board Foodservice Director so that the projects may be implemented again in the future.

Undergraduate DPD Students Partner with Graduate and High-School Students to Earn Gainesville High School Healthy Schools Program National Recognition Award  
Adopted from: Alliance for a Healthier Generation Success Story

A partnership formed between students enrolled in the University of Florida’s graduate and undergraduate dietetics programs and Gainesville High School students, administrators, faculty and staff provided the perfect opportunity to assess the environment at Gainesville High School and to implement changes to create a healthier school. The partnership resulted in improvements in each of the eight content areas of the Healthy Schools Program and helped them satisfy the requirements for the Bronze recognition award.

The team used the Healthy Schools Inventory as the foundation for the needs assessment they conducted at the school. They also gathered input from Gainesville students, faculty and staff as well as members of the School Board of Alachua County and the Alachua County School Food Service department. Based on the thorough assessment they identified potential intervention strategies for each area and divided into five teams (Policy/Systems, School Meals, Health Education, Physical Education/Activity and Employee Wellness), with a UF graduate student taking the lead of each team. Each team was responsible for developing and implementing strategies to meet the Healthy Schools Program criteria, as well as developing a budget and securing financial support as necessary. With such an organized and qualified team in place the school saw rapid changes in their environment. Many more sustainable changes have also been realized, thanks to this unique school/community collaborative effort.

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