Nutrition across the curriculum: A scoping review exploring the integration of nutrition education within primary schools

Berit M. Follong, Angeliek Verdonschot, Elena Prieto-Rodriguez, Andrew Miller, Clare E. Collins, Tamara Bucher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Primary schools contribute to promoting healthy eating behaviour and preventing overweight and obesity by providing nutrition education. Research highlights the importance of improving teachers' program implementation to enhance intervention effectiveness. An integrative approach has been suggested to reduce time barriers that teachers currently experience in teaching nutrition. This scoping review explores use and effectiveness of integrative teaching in primary school-based nutrition education programs. Six databases were searched for primary school-based interventions on nutrition education. Papers reporting on integration of nutrition topics within core curriculum were included. Abstracts and full texts of potentially relevant articles were screened to determine eligibility. Next, data were extracted and tabulated. Findings were collated and summarised to describe intervention characteristics, subject integration and effectiveness of the included programs. Data describing integration of nutrition into the primary school curriculum were extracted from 39 eligible papers. Nutrition education programs often involve lessons about food groups and are frequently embedded within the mathematics, science or literacy syllabus. Although articles report on the integration of nutrition, the use of this approach was not commonly described in detail. Only seven papers discussed student outcomes related to the integration of nutrition education within core subjects. The ability to draw strong conclusions about school-based nutrition intervention effectiveness is limited by the current lack of program description and methodological issues. Hence, more research is warranted to inform evidence on effectiveness of integrative nutrition education for both teacher and student outcomes. Future studies that include greater detail regarding the integrative approach are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-44
Number of pages44
JournalNutrition Research Reviews
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Childhood obesity
  • Curricular integration
  • Education
  • Elementary school
  • Healthy eating
  • Learning
  • Multi-disciplinary
  • Nutrition
  • Teaching

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