Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health

First Committee Member

Dr. Michelle Strong

Second Committee Member

Dr. Melissa Tibbits

Third Committee Member

Dr. Regina Idoate


The obesity rate among American children aged two to five years old is 12.7% (Centers for Disease Control, 2022), indicating a need for health interventions at this critical life stage. Nebraska Extension’s Nutrition Education Program has identified a need for direct education materials to reach Nebraskans in early childhood. Learn, Grow, Eat & Go! Early Childhood was identified as an appropriate curriculum to be tested in an early childhood intervention pilot. Learn, Grow, Eat & Go! Early Childhood is a newly developed program built upon the foundation of teaching children about healthful foods and physical activity through gardening. An early childhood direct education program is implemented with short-, intermediate- and long-term goals in mind. Short-term goals involve an improvement in children’s abilities to identify and eat fruits and vegetables. Intermediate-term goals focus on the increase of gardening accessibility, consumption of fruits and vegetables, and physical activity participation in Nebraskan children. The long-term goal of implementing an early childhood direct education program is to decrease the rate of obesity in Nebraskan children.

The goals of this project are to plan the implementation and evaluations for the Learn, Grow, Eat & Go! Early Childhood curriculum to be used by Nebraska Extension Nutrition Education Program educators. Implementation of this program will occur in six phases, with Phase III involving the acceptance or rejection of the program following a program pilot in Phase II. If the program is not accepted in Phase III, Phases IV, V, and VI will not occur. Evaluation of this program occurs by asking formative, process, and outcome questions to reflect upon the strengths and limitations of the curriculum.