2 min read
Two children participating in Body Quest

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. — More than 7,000 third graders learned healthy nutrition behaviors and engaged in more physical activity this past school year, because of an innovative childhood obesity prevention initiative called Body Quest.

Body Quest (BQ) is a curriculum designed by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education program (SNAP-Ed) that empowers students and their parents to make healthier choices.

The curriculum is taught by SNAP-Ed educators, who combine a mix of classroom-led discussion, vegetable tastings and educational games through an iPad app, narrated by BQ Warriors, who possess superpowers from eating healthy foods.

SNAP-Ed educators provided Body Quest to 7,269 third graders in 168 schools. All schools were SNAP-Ed eligible, with more than 50% of students receiving free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Positive Changes 

Body Quest inspired healthy changes throughout the school year. Alabama SNAP-Ed Coordinator Katie Funderburk said program evaluation showed changes in behavior toward eating habits and water consumption from both parents and students.

Based on pre and post assessments, SNAP-Ed staff learned that after Body Quest students ate more fruits and vegetables, drank more water than sugary drinks and said they enjoyed eating vegetables and whole grains.

SNAP-Ed’s FY22 Annual Report also reported that parents said they drank more water and fewer sugary drinks. SNAP-Ed reached parents through a mix of text messages, social media posts, digital ads, billboards and materials sent home with their children.

“SNAP-Ed educators consistently say they know Body Quest works when they have students start the school year expressing dislike for vegetables who progress through the 15-week program to loving spinach, carrots and broccoli and even asking for another taste,” Funderburk said. “Once students go home, parents play an important role in making nutritious foods and beverages available and modeling healthy choices, so we are pleased that efforts to engage with parents have been successful as well.”

Messaging Encourages Change

While students get nutrition education in the classroom, SNAP-Ed reaches parents of those same children through a texting program. Each week, parents who signed up for the program received tips about helping their children eat more fruits and vegetables, be more active and drink more water.

Text messages may say something like, “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Set a goal with your child to try a new fruit or vegetable this month.”

According to SNAP-Ed’s annual report, parents were engaged in the program and receptive to text messages with more than 90 percent of parents surveyed saying they used tips provided in the messages.

“We know that reaching the parents who are purchasing and preparing the food at home is as important as the students in the classroom,” Funderburk said. “Seeing these results from our text messaging program encourages us to keep working to support Alabamians on their paths to better health.”

For more information about Body Quest or about SNAP-Ed, visit www.livewellalabama.com or visit Live Well Alabama on  FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Did you find this helpful?