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MetLife Foundation Grants


The primary aim of the Registered Dietitian/Parent Empowerment Program is to create a model program for RDs to take into community and schools to provide the knowledge and skills that will empower families to make positive changes in eating and activity patterns of their children. The program is based on the Healthy Children, Healthy Futures 8 Habits of Healthy Kids™ program's past implementation successes.

This project will build on that success and add the necessary food and nutrition expertise by providing RDs to coach parents over the course of the program. The program will help parents to become nutrition and physical activity role models for other parents, share nutrition and physical activity information with other families and build partnerships with community/school resulting in more involvement in wellness practices. An outcome will be a new model program for primary prevention that RDs can use in school/community settings.

Grantees were selected in New York, Chicago and Houston to implement the program in 12 schools.

Questions? Contact Katie Brown at

About the Kids Eat Right Initiative »


About the MetLife Foundation Grants

Registered Dietitian: A Parent Empowerment Project

Developing a Model for RDs to Help Families Ensure Quality Nutrition

Primary Aim

Using the Healthy Children, Healthy Futures "8 Healthy Habits" as the base, build upon learnings to develop an RD-based model for parent education and engagement in community and or school sites. The RD capabilities needed for effective parent engagement in minority communities (skill and knowledge) will be identified and addressed as a component of the model. Formative and process data collection will be completed.

The parent outcomes include the development of an interest in sharing nutrition information (8 Healthy Habits) with other families; changes in family habits between first and last visit; and improved or strengthened connectedness to the school/community center that is offering workshops.

Program Activities Outputs

  1. Parent-centered and informed sessions
  2. Number of parents attending workshop sessions (total)
  3. Number of parents engaged in recruitment of other parents, advising or providing input to session development
  4. Number of parents attending all sessions
  5. Number of parents completing pre and post test
  6. Outputs from surveys, likes/dislikes of sessions/process data
  7. Number of parents who have, or intend to, bring 8 Healthy Habits to others
  8. Number and quality of goal setting assignments completed

Program Outcomes

  1. Changes in parent self-efficacy and conviction relative to adopting healthy habits
  2. Changes in some number of habits committed to by parent
  3. Parent empowerment, determined by intent to help families and or community implement 8 Healthy Habits in future
  4. Connectedness and positive attitudes toward school/community center
  5. Positive attitudes and knowledge about RD

Timeline for 2010-2011 School Year

  • Enroll schools
  • Recruit RDs
  • Training call with RDs
  • Introduction meeting with school, school program advisor and RDs

  • Training call and action planning on site with each RD
  • School and RD meet with parents (small group) willing to provide input and advice for sessions
  • Parent recruitment strategy developed
  • RDs from all sites participation on conference call for planning workshops
  • Planning of workshops with parent input
  • Feed back from school and parents on draft plan

  • Finalize plan for workshops January-April
  • Determine incentive plan for parents
  • Recruitment strategy implementation planned for January 6 start-up

  • Workshops held
  • Data collected on various indicators
  • Pre post survey for parents
  • Pre post survey for school

  • Exit meeting with advisory group of parents and schools to get feedback on successes and what might be done better

School Site Commitment

  • Administrator (community center leader) signs letter of agreement and commits to support and promote the program. When possible, administrator participates and attends the workshop series to be organized and conducted by RDs for/with parents.
  • Each site assigns a program leader as contact person that serves as liaison to school or community site and its supporting staff and RD.
  • Site program leader helps to recruit parents:
    • Initial small group active parents to provide input on workshop topics and recruitment or parents.
    • Recruitment of parents that are most interested in wellness environment to help with broad recruitment of parents to sessions.
    • Other parents from the parent body as-a-whole to attend workshops.
    • Provide reminders to main office, teachers and other school staff to promote sessions to kids to get their parents to attend.
  • Site program leader helps to facilitate getting space for workshops, links to food service representative for participation, notices out to parents via students, notices by posting on website, cable network, via parent organizations, other groups.
  • Program leader facilitates initial meetings with potential parent workshop attendees, the RD, and others who will participate in program planning.
  • Each site will receive grant (amount between $200-$250).

Registered Dietitian Commitment

  • Experienced with parent and school/community outreach preferable; current relationship with community and or school; working history with collaborative efforts; self-motivating, resourceful, excellent communication skills, cultural competency skills (or interest/knowledge in).
  • Experience working with planning teams and developing action plans (or interest/knowledge in).
  • Willingness to be flexible with program schedules dictating meeting times and locations.
  • Ability to teach and motivate parents and knowledge of, or experience with, teaching/counseling children.
  • Participate in all training — online and in-person:
    • 3-hour online Kids Eat Right CE course on population based prevention, school environmental change, programs for changing environment.
    • Two 1.5-hour training calls or webinar.
    • One day in-person training.
  • Participate in collecting outcome data (process and survey).
  • Year long pilot study will require site involvement from September–June:
    • September: Phone meeting with program directors, meeting school leaders and organizing site planning meeting/team.
    • October/November:
      • Provide Kids Eat Right in-service so school staff knowledgeable about program and has background on nutrition goals.
      • In-person training on the 8 Habits of Healthy Kids, planning team on-going and continues to meet, enhancing parent involvement and participation, school/community staff in-service meeting to reinforce school/community staff support (parents can also be invited to these in-service programs).
    • November–December: Parent workshop attendees recruited, in-service given, develops draft plan for workshop dates.
    • January–April: Booster training and conduct 3-4 workshops.
    • May–June: Final workshop, celebration, data collection, interviews with school staff.
  • Monthly conference calls with group and entire group.
  • Data collection about process and information from parents — survey instruments to be defined.