Adopting Healthy Habits (AHH) Best Practices: Documenting Efforts and Outcomes

Worksite Location
CCE Jefferson County
Faculty Sponsor
Jamie Dollahite, Professor, Nutritional Science
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Tisa Fontaine Hill, Extension Associate, Nutritional Science
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Amanda Root, Nutrition Program Leader, CCE Jefferson County
Stipend Amount
$4,000
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

Adopting Healthy Habits (AHH), initiated in 2005, began as a multi-sector childhood obesity prevention effort led by Food and Nutrition Education in Communities in the Division of Nutritional Sciences and implemented by nutrition educators in six Cornell Cooperative Extension associations across New York state. The goal was to prevent unhealthy weight gain and to promote healthy eating and activity habits among low-income children through dialogue and collaborative action with parents and other influential adults who shape the environments where children live, learn and play. In Jefferson County, AHH led to several additional projects including farm-to-school efforts, a community coalition to support breastfeeding and a food policy council. To date, outcome data collection has focused on outputs, with little data collection having been done to document outcomes and impacts over time. These projects have the potential for broad impact through a combination of ongoing nutrition education programming (SNAP-Ed and EFNEP) across the state that includes environmental change efforts and leveraging additional grant-supported funding. To facilitate this broader effort, more thorough documentation of current work is needed. Specifically, data will be collected on what was tried, the challenges faced and successes accomplished, the outcomes of the efforts and any evidence of longer term impacts. Of particular interest will be the barriers and facilitators to sustainability of efforts over time. This information will serve to build a set of resources for CCE staff and help determine future areas for funding to support related programming and research.

Roles and Responsibilities

The intern’s main responsibility will be to document efforts, outputs, outcomes and any available impacts from the various AHH related projects in Jefferson County. To do this, the intern will work with Amanda Root and Tisa Hill to assess what data need to be collected and how the data collection will occur. This data collection will be informed by an initial intensive review of current and previous AHH-related projects in Jefferson County. We will draw from the Western Region’s SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Prevention Outcomes. It is anticipated that the intern will travel to partner sites in Jefferson and nearby counties to document specific activities and efforts, as appropriate, through photographs and interviews with AHH partners. These results will be disseminated to nutrition education programs across the CCE system to encourage replication of efforts in other locations.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Must be a full-time CHE freshman, sophomore or junior. Graduating seniors are not eligible. Must meet NYS Department of Motor Vehicle requirement, if applicable.

• Interest in public health approaches to preventing unhealthy weight gain
• Strong oral and written communication skills
• Comfort with word, excel, and report design
• NS 2450 or similar course that includes experience with qualitative research

Benefits and Skills

• Increased understanding of the specifics and complexities of an environmental approach to obesity prevention
• Greater understanding of CCE and the role of collaboration in promoting community change for public health
• Increased skills in communicating with various stakeholders through written reports
• Increased skills in qualitative research methodology (i.e. interviewing key informants and analyzing data)