Dairy Council of California, a quasi-state government nutrition education organization committed to elevating the health and wellness of children and families, said its fourth grade Nutrition Pathfinders program was accepted as a Research-Tested Intervention Program (RTIP) by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

NCI's RTIP is a searchable database that provides public health practitioners with easy access to evidence-based cancer control interventions and program materials, Sacramento-based Dairy Council of California said. To qualify, listings must demonstrate measurable impact as research-tested intervention programs.

Dairy Council of California's Nutrition Pathfinders for fourth grade is part of a K-12 nutrition education curriculum designed to teach students healthy eating habits and encourage physical activity. Evaluated by an independent research group tracking the program's effectiveness of improving knowledge, attitudes and nutrition choices, Nutrition Pathfinders demonstrated effectiveness in teaching healthy eating and exercise patterns to children and their families.

According to Dairy Council of California, the study showed:

  • Improved student knowledge of the food groups, key nutrients in foods and how to make nutritious food choices.
  • Improved nutrition behaviors in students and families, including decreased consumption of highly processed foods and sugary drinks.

"Dairy Council of California's free nutrition education curriculum is an effective classroom resource teachers can use to educate and empower their students to eat healthfully," said Dr. Megan Greene, a fourth-grade teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary. "It's easy to teach, aligns with Common Core Standards and truly does empower students to make healthier choices in the cafeteria."

Dairy Council of California's nutrition education resources are developed using the latest nutrition research. They align with Common Core State Standards and include teacher-friendly plug-and-play lessons that use proven behavior-change models. Available to educators teaching K-12, the nutrition lessons cover relevant food topics such as identifying nutritious foods, food label evaluation, appropriate serving sizes, how to create nutritionally balanced meals and snacks, and the importance of physical activity, Dairy Council of California said.

"Educators are influential gatekeepers of children, teaching lifelong skills every day in the classroom," said Tracy Mendez, R.D.N., and director of nutrition education at Dairy Council of California. "Integrating nutrition education lessons in the classroom equips students with the right tools to make healthy eating decisions that will last them a lifetime."

Free to California schools, Dairy Council of California's nutrition education curriculum may be ordered at HealthyEating.com/Order. For a small fee, out-of-state schools may also order classroom lessons by calling 866-572-1359.