Recent Submissions

  • Feasibility Of Farm-To-School In Alaska: A State-Wide Investigation Of Perspectives From School Food Service Professionals

    Herron, Johanna Ruth; Bersamin, Andrea; Lopez, Ellen; Barry, Ronald; Henry, David (2013)
    Childhood obesity is a significant public health concern and schools are a key setting for prevention. The majority of U.S. children are enrolled in school where they consume a large portion of their daily energy. Farm-to-school programs are a promising strategy for preventing childhood obesity in school-aged children. The overall objective of this study was to conduct a baseline assessment of Alaska school food service professionals' perspectives of using local foods. Specific objectives were to: 1) Assess interest in utilizing local foods, 2) Identify perceived barriers to purchasing local foods, and 3) Determine resources needed to facilitate local food procurement. A survey was administered to all school food service professionals in Alaska (n = 74) who oversee the National School Lunch Program in their program site or district. The survey consisted of open and close-ended questions, comprising six domains: interest, perceived benefits, perceived usefulness, perceived barriers, and future needs. Descriptive statistics were performed on all variables. The majority (80-96%) of school food service professionals reported interest in utilizing local foods in the school meal programs. School food service professional's reported concern with finding a reliable supply (67%) and the cost (46%) of locally sourced foods. Nearly all (92%) school food service professional's agreed that information about what foods are available, where to purchase them, and USDA purchasing regulations would be useful. Farm-to-school strategies are attainable in Alaska. Interest is high, and perceived barriers and challenges are consistent with national findings. The most useful resources identified could be accommodated through increased communication and use of existing resources.
  • Observable effects of attention, posture, ergonomics and movement in the classroom

    Healy, Joanne; Bult-Ito, Abel; Anahita, Sine; Charles, Walkie; Irish, Joel; Kaden, Ute (2014-05)
    Two studies related to student attention, posture, school ergonomics, student behavior (leaning, standing up, and moving), and learning engagement were conducted in Alaska. The Children's Postural Improvement Study (CPIS) looked at the observable effects of two interventions on attention. In the Classroom Environmental Study (CES) a baseline ergonomic survey compared observed student behavior and classroom arrangements. The purpose of the CPIS was to investigate the effects of a postural education program, consisting of five 30-minute instructional sessions, as compared to a nutritional intervention at two elementary schools and its effect on attention. Three quantitative tools measured attention, the post-Partial Vanderbilt ADHD Teacher and Parent rating scales and pre- and post-math fluency tests. Qualitative measures included pre- and postintervention photographs, daily comments from students after the lesson, and post open-ended-question student and teacher surveys. Based on the post-surveys, participants valued their good posture and made concentrated efforts to improve it. Quantitative results of this postural study revealed no correlation between posture and attention. The follow-up CES examined the current state of furniture in 78 classrooms and pedagogical practices in regard to student movement and learning engagement in eight fourth-grade classrooms in three elementary schools. Two-way ANOVA revealed a significant school effect for leaning and significant classroom nested within school effects for leaning, standing up, and moving. Classroom sketches were coded to examine movement and posture. No significant difference for desk clusters by grade, or by school using the Chi-squared test were found, but there was a significant difference comparing the seating relationship to instructional delivery by grade and by school. Recommendations for future research and changes within Schools of Education and school districts to improve posture and learning engagement include: adjust current students' chairs and desks to meet their ergonomic needs; raise awareness of and inform pre-service, current teachers, students, and parents about ergonomic health concepts; encourage teachers to move around the classroom while instructing to engage students as they track the teacher's movement; and limit instructional periods to 20 minutes or less to allow for student movement breaks.