A nutrition education program for New York City’s food bank has led to children making healthier food choices, according to a survey of 700 New York City public elementary school teachers.
CookShop is a USDA program designed to provide nutrition education to food-stamp-eligible families through cooking and nutrition workshops. The NYC food bank said that the program will include 15,000 participants across New York City this year. The program trains teachers to implement the scheme and provides curriculum materials, food and equipment.
The survey of 700 teachers that took part in the CookShop program last year found that teachers reported a high success rate from the plan. According to participating teachers, 97 percent said their students were more likely to try new healthy food and had improved nutrition knowledge; 96 percent said their students were more interested in healthy eating as a result of the program; and 92 percent said their students made healthier food choices.
The NYC food bank’s president and CEO Lucy Cabrera said: "Education is the best path out of poverty, but when children are poorly nourished, they don't perform as well in school. The ill effects are long-term and far-reaching. CookShop improves their food choices and inspires families to come together around the kitchen table for healthy, affordable meals."
Cabrera added that the program fits in well with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, which was launched in February with the stated aim of ending childhood obesity in the United States within a generation. It underscored the need for greater nutrition education, among other measures.
The NYC food bank said that the results of the teachers’ survey are particularly significant because 43 percent of the city’s elementary school children are overweight or obese.
"Nutrition education is one of the best tools we have in the fight against obesity because it gives children and families the practical knowledge to make healthy choices throughout their lives," Dr. Cabrera said.