Feed on

Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

One thing that often surprises me is how difficult it is for teachers to have an impact on students' health. It's not as if there aren't enough efforts through the curriculum and through various commercial ventures to promote health in schools. This week I look at some interesting research articles about education, health and nutrition and I identify six lessons that teachers might keep in mind if they want to think about educating children about health and nutrition in a way that will stick.

The programme is based on research articles that are listed below. The main points raised are:


  • Health and nutrition in the primary and post-primary school curricula in Ireland
  • Why a teacher’s example matters: Perikkou, A., Gavrieli, A., Kougioufa, M-M., Tzirkali, M., Yannakoulia, M. (2013). A novel approach for increasing fruit consumption in children. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 113: 1188-1193.
  • Promoting cooking competence after school: Jarpe-Ratner, E., Folkens, S., Sharma, S., Daro, D., & Edens, N.K. (2016). An experiential cooking and nutrition education program increases cooking self-efficacy and vegetable consumption in children in grades 3-8. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 48(10), 697 – 705.
  • Boost students’ academic performance through sleep education: Gruber, R., Somerville, G., Bergmame, L., Fontil, L., & Paguin, S. (2016). School-based sleep education program improves sleep and academic performance of school-age children. Sleep Medicine, 21, 93-100.
  • Alienation from and hiding in physical education class: Carlson, T.B. (1995). We hate gym: Student alienation from physical education. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education. 14: 467-477 and Lyngstad, I., Hagen, P-M., Aune, O. (2016). Understanding pupils’ hiding techniques in physical education. Sport, Education and Society, 21(8): 1127-1143.
  • Eliminate or change treats: Shan, L.C., McCafferty, C., Tatlow-Golden, M., O’Rourke, C., Mooney, R., Livingstone, M.B.E., Pourshahidi, L.K., Corish, C., Kearney, J.M., Wall, P., & Murrin, C. Is it still a real treat? Adults’ treat provision to children. Appetite. 2018; 130: 228-235.
  • Changing food habits consistently in multiple dimensions over a sustained period of time. Merrotsy, A., McCarthy, A.L., Flack, J., Lacey, S., & Coppinger, T. Project Spraoi: A two-year longitudinal study on the effectiveness of a school-based nutrition and physical activity intervention on dietary intake, nutritional knowledge and markers of health of Irish schoolchildren. Public Health Nutr. 2019; 22(13), 2489-2499.
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