aligned with state standards. They also would need support from multiple stakeholders, such as school boards, principals, and legislators. And they would need to be flexible to accommodate the great differences among schools.
Nutrition education can take advantage of the skills and enthusiasms of young people. They are the ones who are experts at social media and would know how to use new technologies and platforms to foster change. Students “are more than willing to tell you what they think, how they feel, and how you should do it right, so they’ll help us.”
Many nutrition education curricula already exist. These could be compiled, compared, and mined for valuable information and approaches, with the National Agricultural Library serving as a portal for wide dissemination.
More science-based evidence from studies on the effectiveness of various nutrition education curricula is needed to know how best to move forward. Strategic planning can help ensure that initiatives are taken thoughtfully and carefully. And education and practice need to reinforce each other— “they go hand in hand.”
“The time is now,” said Wilson. “Never before has the conversation been as loud.” Support from the Obama administration is very strong. Even the advocates of ideas that seem implausible, such as radical changes in food preparation in schools, have something to contribute to the dialogue. “Everybody is talking about ‘childhood wellness,’” Wilson said—a term she prefers to “obesity” because of the stigmatizing effect of that term.
The workshop was not designed to produce definitive answers, Wilson observed. Rather, it was organized as a conversation, and the conversation needs to continue. “We have a responsibility,” she said. “We are the ones who are passionate. We must keep the pendulum moving.” As Wilson concluded, quoting the entrepreneur and speaker Jim Rohn, “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction immediately.”