A Multicomponent, School-Based Intervention, the Shaping Healthy Choices Program, Improves Nutrition-Related Outcomes

Rachel E. Scherr, Jessica D. Linnell, Madan Dharmar, Lori M. Beccarelli, Jacqueline J. Bergman, Marilyn Briggs, Kelley M. Brian, Gail Feenstra, J. Carol Hillhouse, Carl L Keen, Lenna L. Ontai, Sara E. Schaefer, Martin Smith, Theresa Spezzano, Francene M. Steinberg, Carolyn Sutter, Heather M Young, Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the Shaping Healthy Choices Program (SHCP). Design: A clustered, randomized, controlled intervention lasting 1 school year. Setting: Schools in northern and central California. Participants: Fourth-graders (aged 9-10 years) at 2 control schools (n = 179) and 2 intervention schools (n = 230). Intervention: Garden-enhanced education, family, and community partnerships; increased regionally procured produce in the lunchroom; and school-site wellness committees. Main Outcome Measures: Changes in body mass index (BMI) percentiles/Z-scores; nutrition knowledge, science process skills, and vegetable identification and preferences; and reported fruit and vegetable intake. Analysis: Student t test, chi-square, ANOVA of change, and multilevel regression mixed model to evaluate change in outcomes with school as a random effect to account for cluster design effects. Statistical significance was set at P < .05. Results: There was a greater improvement in BMI percentile (-6.08; P < 0.01), BMI Z-score (-0.28; P < .001), and waist-to-height ratio (-0.02; P < .001) in the intervention compared with the control schools. Conclusions and Implications: The SHCP resulted in improvements in nutrition knowledge, vegetable identification, and a significant decrease in BMI percentiles. This supports the concept that the SHCP can be used to improve the health of upper elementary school students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
StateAccepted/In press - 2016


  • Body mass index percentiles
  • Childhood obesity
  • Multicomponent programs
  • Nutrition education
  • School-based programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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