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





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


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.


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