Beginning at the critical preschool level, preventing childhood obesity is a multifaceted challenge with health, economic, ethical, and social implications. In particular, increasing emphasis will be placed upon educating children and their caregivers about the USDA’s MyPlate model of good nutrition. To date, evidence-based efforts to teach preschool children nutrition facts and appropriate behaviors are limited, and developers of evidence-based practices do not appear to use formative-evaluation to an adequate extent. Crucial among these evaluations is assessing what the preschool child already knows about the MyPlate components (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy). University researchers along with graduate students in nutrition and psychology conducted a review of current research regarding the use of MyPlate in early childhood education settings. Minimal empirical studies were found, indicating a need to expand the literature in the areas of MyPlate, early childhood nutrition education, and formative evaluation. In the current article, authors present the systematic review process of the scant knowledge that exists regarding formative evaluation research to document what preschool-age children already know about nutrition, suggest ways that this research base might be expanded, and advocate for the increased use of formative evaluation in both research and curriculum development.



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