Describe the process of development and implementation of Health at the Table – a food literacy curriculum for primary school aged children.
Through a community-based research process, Health at the Table development and implementation took place in four stages: exploratory study, production, implementation and monitoring.
Primary schools of Sintra’s municipality, Portugal.
Children (6–10 years), teachers, school staff and children’s legal guardians of three primary schools during the pilot project and eight primary schools in the second year.
During the needs assessment phase, 99·1 % (n 341) of the children’s legal guardians, 100 % (n 34) of the teachers and 100 % (n 19) of the school staff considered that the school plays an important or very important role in children’s food literacy (stage 1). During the pilot project, a manual with sixty session plans was developed (stage 2). In the second year, Health at the Table was implemented by seventy-two trained teachers during one school year (stage 3). Most of the teachers agreed that the curriculum was appropriate (69·2 %) and that children developed health, wellness/well-being and environmental skills (83·1 %). Most of the children said they had learned about healthy eating (86·3 %) and claimed to eat healthier since the Health at the Table implementation (58·9 %) (stage 4).
Health at the Table is a food literacy curriculum that can be reproduced in similar contexts in a sustainable way. The need to combine educational strategies with a healthy school food environment is reinforced to increase effectiveness in tackling childhood obesity.