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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 105, Issue 4, pp e306–e311 | Cite as

Development and implementation of FRESH — a post-secondary nutrition education program incorporating population strategies, experiential learning and intersectoral partnerships

  • June I. MatthewsEmail author
  • Anne V. Zok
  • Emily P. M. Quenneville
  • Paula D. N. Dworatzek
Public Health Intervention
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The FRESH (Food Resources and Education for Student Health) peer nutrition education program engages undergraduate and graduate students in experiential learning to improve the campus food and nutrition environment and promote healthy behaviours among university students.

TARGET POPULATION: University students in general, and graduate and undergraduate food and nutrition students as program designers and peer educators, respectively.

SETTING: Large university campus in southwestern Ontario.

INTERVENTION: A peer nutrition education program, utilizing multiple population strategies and intersectoral partnerships, was created by and for university students with faculty and food service personnel as mentors. The population health strategies employed were building awareness and program branding; developing personal skills through peer nutrition education and hands-on cooking demonstrations; and creating supportive environments through incentive programs for fruit and dairy as well as point-of-purchase menu labelling.

OUTCOMES: The program has reached students, staff and faculty through over 60 interactive FRESH displays and education sessions. Website and social media have also had a significant reach with over 4,000 website visits and 277 Facebook “likes”. FRESH has also improved the food environment for over 5,000 students in residence, e.g., 1,931 FRESH Fruit/Dairy Cards have been returned for free fruit/milk cartons. Graduate students in Foods and Nutrition continue to participate every year (cumulative n=60) in ongoing program development. Peer educators have developed enhanced leadership, public speaking and group facilitation skills, and the ability to creatively apply what they have learned in the classroom to new contexts.

CONCLUSION: Increased nutrition knowledge and an improved food environment could, over the long term, support improved university student health.

Key Words

Nutritional sciences/education students universities health promotion peer group 

Résumé

OBJECTIFS : Le programme FRESH (Food Resources and Education for Student Health) d’éducation alimentaire par les pairs propose à des étudiants de premier cycle et de cycles supérieurs un apprentissage expérientiel pour améliorer l’alimentation et l’environnement nutritionnel sur le campus et promouvoir des comportements sains dans la population étudiante universitaire.

POPULATION CIBLE : Les étudiants d’université en général, et les étudiants de premier cycle et des cycles supérieurs des programmes d’alimentation et de nutrition, ainsi qu’en tant qu’éducateurs auprès des pairs et que concepteurs du programme, respectivement.

LIEU: Un vaste campus universitaire dans le sud-ouest de l’Ontario.

INTERVENTION : Un programme d’éducation alimentaire par les pairs, utilisant un éventail de stratégies populationnelles et de partenariats intersectoriels, a été créé par et pour des étudiants d’université, mentorés par le corps professoral et le personnel des services alimentaires. Les stratégies de santé des populations employées ont été la sensibilisation et le design global du programme; le perfectionnement des compétences personnelles par l’éducation alimentaire par les pairs et par des démonstrations culinaires pratiques; et la création de milieux favorables au moyen de programmes d’incitation à consommer des fruits et des laitages, ainsi que l’étiquetage nutritionnel des menus sur le lieu de vente.

RÉSULTATS : Le programme FRESH a joint les étudiants, le personnel et le corps professoral par l’entremise de plus de 60 présentoirs interactifs et séances de sensibilisation. Le site Web et les médias sociaux ont aussi eu un auditoire important: plus de 4 000 visites du site Web et 277 « J’aime » sur Facebook. Le programme a par ailleurs amélioré l’environnement alimentaire de plus de 5 000 étudiants en résidence; entre autres, 1 931 fiches de fruits et de laitages FRESH ont été échangées pour des fruits frais ou des berlingots de lait. Les étudiants diplômés des programmes d’alimentation et de nutrition (cumulativement n=60) continuent de participer chaque année au développement du programme. Les éducateurs auprès des pairs perfectionnent leurs techniques de leadership, d’art oratoire et de facilitation sociale et leur capacité d’appliquer avec créativité dans de nouveaux contextes ce qu’ils apprennent en classe.

CONCLUSION: Des connaissances nutritionnelles accrues et un environnement alimentaire amélioré pourraient, à long terme, favoriser la santé des étudiants d’université.

Mots Clés

sciences/enseignement de la nutrition étudiants université promotion de la santé groupe de pairs 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • June I. Matthews
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Anne V. Zok
    • 3
  • Emily P. M. Quenneville
    • 4
  • Paula D. N. Dworatzek
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Food and Nutritional SciencesBrescia University CollegeLondonCanada
  2. 2.Western UniversityLondonCanada
  3. 3.Hospitality ServicesWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  4. 4.Windsor Regional HospitalWindsorCanada
  5. 5.Schulich Interfaculty Program in Public Health, Schulich School of Medicine & DentistryWestern UniversityLondonCanada

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