evaluation

The Farm to You exhibit has not only been well received by schools and programs statewide, it has been recognized nationally, endorsing OCES as a premier agency for providing agricultural and nutritional programming. More importantly, as part of a comprehensive nutrition/health intervention, it was found to enhance behavior change among fourth and fifth grade students beyond that achieved in a control group, thus increasing program effectiveness.

Farm to You exhibit has been experienced by a total of 38,244 youth and 2,115 community volunteers in 55 counties throughout Oklahoma. In a case/controlled evaluation, the exhibit was found to have a statistically significant enhancement on self-reported behavior change in students who were exposed to both classroom nutrition education lessons and the exhibit compared to those exposed solely to the classroom lessons.

Farm to You has been named the 2010 Children's Health Champion and recipient of the Dr. Rodney Huey Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health award, the highest honor of the Champions of Health awards. The project also received national attention by being featured in Weighing the Options: How Can We Encourage Healthy Weights among America’s Youth?, a publication of the National Issues Forum Network, West Virginia Center for Civic Life.

Teachers are saying:

  • “Teachers enjoyed the program and felt it was worth transporting their students to the county fair for the exhibit.”

  • “This exhibit was a culmination of the health units taught to our kids this year. It was a great review and the kids loved it.”

Students are saying:

  • “The cheeseburger farm was the coolest thing I have ever seen.” o “I didn’t know there were four food groups in a cheeseburger.”

  • “I liked it when we talked about the different food groups because it was interesting.”

  • “I didn’t know about how drugs hurt our lungs, teeth, and gums.”

  • “Whenever we went to the smoking area, I learned it was really bad. My grandpa and grandma smoke so I could talk to them. Maybe I could encourage them to stop.”

  • “I didn’t know that milk carries vitamin A. Now I will drink more milk.” o “I will try to take care of my body because they taught me why and how . . . My dad is eating healthy food instead of bad food to take care of his body like those people said.”

  • “I thought it was cool to see how the human body works.”

Details about the Evaluation
A quantitative evaluation of the exhibit was conducted during the 2009 School Year. The preliminary abstract of the evaluation follows.

  • The evaluation utilized a case-control, repeated measures design to determine if the Farm to You exhibit enhanced behavior change among fourth and fifth grade students beyond that achieved by a six-lesson nutrition education program presented by the OSU Cooperative Extension. Self-reported behavior change was measured using a pre/post questionnaire to assess the change in frequency in which students practiced ten health related behaviors.
    • Whole grain bread and cereal consumption
    • Fruit and vegetable consumption
    • Dairy food consumption
    • Low-fat meat consumption
    • Physical activity
    • Breakfast consumption consisting of 2 to 3 MyPyramid food groups.
    • Snacking only when hungry
    • Use of the Nutrition Facts label to make food and beverage choices
    • Eating smaller amounts of high fat foods
    • Drinking smaller amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Students in the intervention group participated in the Farm to You exhibit and received the six-lesson nutrition education program presented by Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service educators. Students in the control group received only the six-lesson nutrition program.

  • Students in the intervention group self-reported a significant increase in the frequency of practicing 6 of the 10 evaluated behaviors compared to students in the control group who reported significant changes in only 4 of the 10 evaluated behaviors. The six behaviors where significant self-reported change occurred within the intervention group were:
    • Whole grain bread and cereal consumption
    • Fruit and vegetable consumption
    • Dairy food consumption
    • Use of the Nutrition Facts label to make food and beverage choices
    • Eating smaller amounts of high fat foods
    • Drinking smaller amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages
  • In conclusion, while nutrition behaviors improved among students in both the control and intervention groups, students exposed to the Farm to You exhibit self-reported more frequently practicing a greater number of healthy dietary behaviors at post intervention compared to students who were only exposed to the nutrition lesson series. Thus, the Farm to You exhibit enhanced behavior change among fourth and fifth grade students beyond that achieved by the six-lesson nutrition education program. As such, Farm to You should be used as part of a comprehensive nutrition education program.
  • Southwest Dairy Farmers Cooperative Extension Service OSU Nutritional Sciences Oklahoma 4-H Fresh Start Program