The team nutrition pilot study: Lessons learned from implementing a comprehensive school-based intervention
Team Nutrition (TN) is an educational and promotional initiative developed by the US Department of Agriculture to change children's eating behaviors through social marketing techniques. This article reports on the process evaluation of a TN pilot project targeting students in kindergarten to grade 4 and systematically documents the implementation experience. Even with a very short start-up period, schools implemented most components of this multichannel nutrition intervention and formed new, supportive relationships with local media and community partners. School teachers and administrators, along with foodservice professionals, generally expressed support for and satisfaction with TN, citing the positive experience and gains for students. The lessons learned from this study highlight the management and organizational issues involved in a comprehensive intervention. These include the importance of local coordinators to support and create a bridge between teachers and cafeteria staff and to forge links with key external partners. To function effectively, coordinators themselves may need training in coalition building and working with media. Relationships formed with parents, local businesses, other educational institutions, health organizations, and the media offer promise for helping to sustain nutrition education efforts. The TN process evaluation identified multiple ideas for pursuing these partnerships more successfully.