The Nutrition Education Initiative (NEI) is a school-based nutrition intervention program implemented in selected middle schools in North Florida between 1999 and 2005. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program, the overall purpose of NEI is to provide nutrition education to middle school students to promote healthy eating practices. Middle schools were chosen as the target population because, developmentally, preadolescents are beginning to make independent food choice decisions and actually spend a larger portion of the money they have available than do teenagers. Further, beginning in these middle years, it becomes more readily observable that some children suffer from or are rapidly approaching the point of obesity.

The NEI Resource Guide was developed specifically for the project because few existing programs could be found that were 1) designed for the current Dietary Guidelines, 2) focused on diverse middle school populations, and 3) designed to be integrated into a variety of disciplines.

The NEI Resource Guide is based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid. Each conceptual area includes major concepts to be taught, objectives, narrative information from the Dietary Guidelines, and teaching strategies with camera-ready student activity sheets. A CD-ROM also is provided that contains additional materials and activities.

The NEI Resource Guide includes two distinctive features.

  • It is designed to be integrated into a variety of content areas--science, health, physical education and practical arts-- rather than taught as a set curriculum.
  • It meets the Florida Sunshine Standards to prepare students for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.