• Improving the consistency and effectiveness of nutrition education in schools;
  • Preparing and training teachers and other education staff to help them provide effective nutrition education;
  • Assisting colleges and universities in the development of courses in nutrition as part of teacher certification and in updating methods courses on how to integrate nutrition education in subject-matter areas in the classroom and in materials; and
  • Establishing a framework for future collaborative efforts and partnerships to improve nutrition education.

Given the widespread and growing interest in nutrition education, the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asked the IOM to conduct a workshop on the merits and potential uses of a set of national nutrition education curriculum standards and learning objectives for elementary and secondary school children. Held in Washington, DC, on March 11-12, 2013, the workshop brought together more than 100 registered participants to identify current promising practices, consider the most important attributes of such standards, and suggest approaches to build acceptance and use among educators (see Appendix A for the Statement of Task). Box 1-1 lists some of the key questions derived from the statement of work to be addressed at the workshop.

The workshop was organized by a planning committee chaired by Karen Weber Cullen, professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine. The members of the planning committee played key roles in moderating sessions at the workshop and in synthesizing the observations made by breakout groups on the workshop’s second day.

This report is a summary of the workshop’s presentations and discussions prepared from the workshop transcript and slides. This summary presents recommendations made by individual speakers. However, none of these recommendations, including those summarized below from the closing session, should be seen as consensus recommendations of the workshop.

Following this introductory chapter, which provides background and introduces the main themes of the workshop, Chapter 2 describes the current opportunity to move forward on the development and implementation of national nutrition education curriculum standards. Chapter 3 provides an overview of past research on school-based nutrition education and a statistical summary of the extent of curriculum education occurring today. Chapter 4 looks at the lessons that can be learned from several major federal nutrition programs that include educational components. Chapter 5 recounts the experiences from California, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC, in instituting nutrition education in schools. Chapter 6 offers perspectives

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