High school mentors' perceptions about Veggiecation within HealthCorps: a case study (624.31)

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal / Book Title

The FASEB Journal


New and creative mechanisms are needed to combat childhood obesity. HealthCorps®, a nonprofit organization devoted to improving health, is staffed by recent college graduates to promote healthy eating and physical activity to high school students. This study explored HealthCorps®-trained high school mentors’ perceptions, i.e. benefits, challenges, and perceived success of Veggiecation®, a nutrition education program composed of cooking, tasting and other interactive activities. Trained high school students in Bronx led Veggiecation® in an afterschool program with 30 students from 2 middle schools, 2-4 sessions/month for 7 months during 2012-13. Results showed that high school mentors identified personal benefits, including exposure to new vegetables, enjoyment of recipes and tasting, and learning about healthy eating. Mentors also reported learning how to teach younger teens and personal satisfaction as other benefits. Reported challenges were mostly external, related to space/logistics, engagement of middle school students in lessons, and persuading them to taste recipes. All peer mentors reported that Veggiecation® was successful in improving children’s vegetable intake, citing recipes and tasting as the most successful components. This approach, which mobilized existing resources and could be expanded, should first be studied for effectiveness to both mentors and program participants.

Published Citation

Bai, Y., Birnbaum, A., & Fly, A. (2014). High school mentors' perceptions about Veggiecation within HealthCorps: a case study (624.31). The FASEB Journal, 28(1_supplement), 624-31.