Healthy Toddlers Curriculum

Speaker: Mildred A. Horodynski, PhD, RN; Gayle Coleman, MS, RD; Susan Baker, EdD The Healthy Eating Index reports that only 36% of 2- and 3-year-old children consume a “good diet.” Nutrition education for parents can improve knowledge, parent-child interaction, and the serving of healthy food to young children. The Healthy Toddlers (HT) curriculum, a series of 8 weekly lessons available in English and Spanish, was designed to promote the development of healthy eating habits at an early age through effective nutrition and parenting education. Curriculum content was based on topics of interest to parents and research indicating that although most mothers knew that it was important to feed their children healthy food, they needed strategies and skills to help them accomplish this goal. Healthy Toddlers used a learner-centered approach, based on the Social Cognitive Theory, which addresses both cognitive and environmental influences on behavior. The curriculum was developed and field tested with 628 families over 3 years in Colorado, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The data gathered are in the process of being analyzed.