Columbia, Mo.: Parents and Students Show Support for Healthy Changes

Healthy Eating by Design

Field of Work: Changing local food and nutrition policies and environments for children.

Synopsis of the Work: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) selected 12 community partnerships participating in its national program Active Living by Design to implement strategies to provide affordable, healthy and appealing food options to children and families by changing local food and nutrition policies and environments. Seven school-based partnerships and five community-based partnerships participated in Health Eating by Design. In Columbia, Mo., fifth graders at the West Boulevard Elementary School produced healthy eating video messages that were publicly screened at a local theater.

Story Told: After learning about how the media can influence their choices, students committed to adopting healthy behaviors, such as eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer fast foods and high-sugar foods and choosing more reasonable portion sizes.

Many of those behaviors have become healthy habits, as one student explained: "I've been reading nutrition facts nonstop. It is a total hobby right now. Every time I pick something up, I read the facts." The students' commitment to healthy eating extended beyond school—they became role models for healthy eating for their parents and peers.