Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Muzaffar, Henna

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Health Studies


Background: The Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) is a school-based education program designed to improve dietary habits and increase physical activity among children and adolescents based on the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT). The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of CATCH program, delivered by dietetic interns and Northern Illinois University (NIU) students, to 3rd-5th graders in Northern Illinois, in increasing their nutrition knowledge and healthy choices behavior. Methods: In total, 167 elementary school children in grades 3-5 in Northern Illinois participated in a non-experimental program evaluation study. We delivered 6 CATCH lessons throughout the academic year to five elementary schools. Lessons were focused on 'Go, Slow, Whoa' food categories to help children understand healthier food choices. Validated questionnaires from the CATCH Global Foundation were administered in classrooms and online, pre/post intervention, to assess nutritional knowledge and healthy choices. Results: Children in third through fifth grades significantly increased their knowledge about nutrient dense foods, p < .001, p < .001, p < .001, respectively. Fourth and fifth graders exhibited a significant increase in their ability to make healthier food choices, p = .03 and p = .007, respectively. As grade level increased from third to fifth grade, improvement in nutrition knowledge and adoption of healthy food choices did not increase significantly, p = .973 and p = .637, respectively. Conclusion: We conclude that children in grades 3-5 who participated in the 6 lessons of the CATCH program expanded their nutritional knowledge and improved their ability to make healthier choices. Conducting evaluations of health promotion programs is imperative to determine the impact of the program, as well as to explore possible improvements in content and delivery.


106 pages




Northern Illinois University

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