Exploring the Associations Among Nutrition, Science, and Mathematics Knowledge for an Integrative, Food-Based Curriculum

J Sch Health. 2018 Jan;88(1):15-22. doi: 10.1111/josh.12576.


Background: Explore associations between nutrition, science, and mathematics knowledge to provide evidence that integrating food/nutrition education in the fourth-grade curriculum may support gains in academic knowledge.

Methods: Secondary analysis of a quasi-experimental study. Sample included 438 students in 34 fourth-grade classrooms across North Carolina and Ohio; mean age 10 years old; gender (I = 53.2% female; C = 51.6% female). Dependent variable = post-test-nutrition knowledge; independent variables = baseline-nutrition knowledge, and post-test science and mathematics knowledge. Analyses included descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression.

Results: The hypothesized model predicted post-nutrition knowledge (F(437) = 149.4, p < .001; Adjusted R = .51). All independent variables were significant predictors with positive association.

Conclusions: Science and mathematics knowledge were predictive of nutrition knowledge indicating use of an integrative science and mathematics curriculum to improve academic knowledge may also simultaneously improve nutrition knowledge among fourth-grade students. Teachers can benefit from integration by meeting multiple academic standards, efficiently using limited classroom time, and increasing nutrition education provided in the classroom.

Keywords: integration; mathematics; nutrition; nutrition knowledge; science.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Curriculum
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • North Carolina
  • Nutritional Status
  • Ohio
  • Self Efficacy
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires