Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Health Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Judi Brooks


About 15.3% of children ages 6-11 are obese; an 8% increase since 1980. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys have provided nationally representative data on health statistics since the 1960’s. Comparing these surveys, the growing rates of childhood obesity are undeniable, as are the increasing rates of children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and multiple other conditions associated with obesity. A multitude of theories on the factors that contributed to this trend have been proposed and among those are increasing portion sizes, consumption of high-fat and/or energy-dense fast foods and soft drinks, and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Nutrition education is vital to reversing the obesity trend. Using breakfast as a module, school-aged children in southeast Michigan were education regarding the health benefits of breakfast, calcium and cereal fiber. The nutrition education presentations that took place within grades k-2 classrooms, themed around Dexter’s Laboratory, a popular televised cartoon on the Cartoon Network, were age-appropriate, interactive and educational. Using the same theme, the school breakfast program aimed to increase student participation by hosting a Dexter’s Laboratory breakfast. Participation increased by 11-17 students. The outcomes of my experience reinforce my belief that age-appropriate nutrition education is effective.