Agriculture and Food: What Can Be Done To Improve Nutrition Education Efforts in the Schools - GAO Report
|Date:||May 25, 1982|
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Education program evaluation
Health care programs
Nutrition Education and Training Program
GAO reviewed the importance of nutrition education in the schools as it relates to: (1) improving eating habits, (2) reducing food waste, and (3) aiding or reducing the need for other federally supported nutrition education activities. GAO also discussed the status of nutrition education in the schools and what the Federal Government can do to help improve it.
GAO found that neither the Department of Agriculture (USDA) nor the Department of Education have gathered information on federally funded nutrition education projects for assessment and dissemination of the results to State and local education agencies. USDA claimed that it lacked Nutrition Education and Training Program funds to reproduce and disseminate information and that it has no criteria to assess the quality of nutrition education information. Both USDA and Education have systems to gather and disseminate information, so no new mechanism should be needed. USDA requires participating States to evaluate the Nutrition Education and Training Program's effectiveness and specify objectives based on participants' needs. Three of the four States GAO visited did not evaluate their program's effectiveness or specify objectives on participants' knowledge, attitudes, or behavior. This occurred because USDA did not provide adequate guidance or training to States on evaluations and objectives. As a result, States had difficulty identifying evaluation materials. Coordination efforts are weak at all levels: between USDA and Education, and within the USDA Nutrition Education and Training Program and private sector groups such as the dairy council. Many teachers are not prepared to teach nutrition upon entering the teaching profession, because few States require teachers to take nutrition courses.