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Making an IMPACT:The Story of a Medical Student-Designed, Peer-Led Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Curriculum
Despite the importance of healthful dietary choices in combating the childhood obesity epidemic, neither primary and secondary schools nor medical schools provide adequate nutrition education. In 2005, two medical students at the University of North Carolina started the Improving Meals and Physical Activity in Children and Teens (IMPACT) program,which utilized a peer-educator model to engage medical students and high school students in teaching 4th graders about healthy eating and physical activity. Over the years, medical student leaders of IMPACT continued the program, orienting the curriculum around the 5-2-1-0 Let's Go campaign, aligning the IMPACT curriculum with North Carolina state curricular objectives for 4th graders and engaging and training teams of health professional students to deliver the program. The IMPACT project demonstrates how medical and other health professional students can successfully promote nutrition and physical activity education for themselves and for children through community based initiatives. Ongoing efforts are aimed at increasing family participation in the curriculum to maximize changes in eating and physical activity of IMPACT participants and ensuring sustainability of the organization by engaging health professional student participants in continuing to improve the program.
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