Lessons Learned: Implementing the Shaping Healthy Choices Program With Teenagers as Teachers

Lyndsey D. Ruiz, Kelley M. Brian, Rachel E. Scherr


One approach that has been successful at improving youth health outcomes is the Shaping Healthy Choices Program, which features garden- and cooking-demonstration-based nutrition education curricula. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of implementing Shaping Healthy Choices Program curricula in 4-H using a teenagers as cross-age teachers approach. A teenagers as cross-age teachers model was employed to educate younger youth using the evidence-based curricula in 2 projects, each lasting 6 months over a 2-year period. Teenage teachers completed an initial 2-day training and reflection-on-action discussions following each educational session. Fidelity observations were collected to assess how well the curricula were delivered by teenage teachers. With a goal of 80%, overall fidelity was low (45%) and teenage teachers were able to deliver only the procedure component of the lessons with adequate average fidelity (84.6%). Poor participant attendance hindered presentation of additional data. Findings from this study suggest a need for more extensive and specific training for teenage teachers to implement the Shaping Healthy Choices Program.


cross-age teaching; teenagers as teachers; nutrition education; garden-based education

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2020.761

Copyright (c) 2020 Lyndsey D. Ruiz, Kelley M. Brian, Rachel E. Scherr

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