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Development and Pilot Testing of a Food Literacy Curriculum for High School-Aged Adolescents


Adolescent obesity and poor diet quality are increasingly prevalent and could be mitigated with attainment of food literacy. However, as these programs for adolescents are lacking, the purpose of this project was to develop a food literacy curriculum for high school-aged adolescents. The curriculum was designed in accordance with food literacy attributes and components utilizing Backward Design, Social Cognitive Theory, and Constructivism. After expert committee review, pilot testing was completed in two low-income communities by a trained facilitator and observer. Detailed observations were collected during pilot testing to assess achievement of learning objectives. Modifications were made to lesson procedures as required. The resulting curriculum, Teens CAN: Comprehensive Food Literacy in Cooking, Agriculture, and Nutrition, contains 12 modules of experiential lessons and application activities within three topics. Agriculture lessons concentrate on the food supply chain and food environments; nutrition lessons include food groups while focusing on nutrients of concern for underconsumption; and cooking lessons include food safety, budgeting, and preparation. Teens CAN provides a comprehensive and necessary approach to advancing food literacy in adolescents. Future directions include assessing dietary implications after participating in Teens CAN lessons and employment of an innovative two-tiered cross-age teaching model.

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