Does the Kids Café Program's Nutrition Education Improve Children's Dietary Intake? A Pilot Evaluation Study

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2018 Mar;50(3):275-282.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2017.11.003. Epub 2018 Feb 1.


Objective: To evaluate the Kids Café Program (KCP) nutrition education and assess its impact on children's diet quality and body mass index (BMI) percentile.

Design: An experimental design consisting of pretest-posttest comparison groups using mixed methods to evaluate a 6-session nutrition education intervention.

Setting: Four Boys and Girls Club sites PARTICIPANTS: A total of 120 9- to 12-year-old children in the KCP (60 intervention and 60 comparison); 89% completed posttest evaluations.

Intervention: Trained KCP site staff taught the nutrition education curriculum at intervention sites.

Main outcome measures: Healthy Eating Index-2010 using 24-hour dietary recall data (primary) and BMI percentile (secondary) ANALYSIS: Repeated-measures mixed-effects modeling RESULTS: Mean age of children was 10.2 years; mean BMI percentile was about 79; 95% were from food-insecure households. The total Healthy Eating Index-2010 score for both groups at baseline and posttest ranged from 50 to 60. At posttest, compared with baseline scores, children from both groups scored significantly lower for total vegetables, and greens and beans; the intervention group children had significantly higher sodium scores. Process evaluation indicated that 60-minute lecture-based sessions were too long after children were in school all day.

Conclusion: This pilot study suggests that the KCP nutrition education curriculum needs improvement. Further research based on behavioral constructs is needed to refine the curriculum to encourage healthier food choices among children and using the MyPlate and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Keywords: HEI-2010; Kids Café; dietary intake; food insecurity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Food Supply / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritive Value
  • Pilot Projects