"They say it takes a whole village to raise a child—that´s really what is required to improve children´s nutrition," says CNS Co-Director, Dr. Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr. “We want children to realize that it feels better to eat healthier foods and to exercise. We want to give them the tools to make changes for life. Simply changing the food selection at schools and forcing kids to eat it is not enough.”
Schools have an opportunity to play a key role in reversing the alarming trends of childhood obesity, inactivity, food insecurity, and poor food choices through comprehensive nutrition education programs. Teachers and school administrators have cited several obstacles: lack of nutrition resources, lack of curriculum that is linked to California content standards, and the need for training and professional development. In response, the UC Davis Department of Nutrition established the Center for Nutrition in Schools (CNS).
The mission of the Center for Nutrition in Schools is to support the school community by providing research-based nutrition education programs and resources that improve student health and assist students in achieving their full potential academically, socially, and physically.
CNS is guided by the philosophy that education and health are influenced by immensely complex ecological systems. CNS conducts research to further characterize school environments that enhance food and nutrition awareness, knowledge, and skills.
Resources developed by the UC Davis Center for Nutrition in Schools emphasize the following:
- Lessons that empower students to understand connections between food choices, health, and the environment
- Activities that include basic food preparation and development of social skills in group dining experiences
- Science experiments that explore influences on food selection and the development of eating habits
- Service learning that involves food systems and environmental stewardship
- The role of agriculture in providing access to fresh, seasonal, locally-grown foods
CNS Goal Areas
A detailed description of the goal areas of CNS is available online.
CNS Leadership Advisory Board
A directory of the CNS Leadership Advisory Board members is available online.