The target population of this service project was thirteen preschool children with ages that ranged between four and five years of age. The gender distribution included six boys and seven girls with residence distributed between Porter and La Porte counties of Indiana. Attention to teaching and promotion of good nutrition habits can have lasting positive effects on the growing child. During the preschool years growth is progressing at approximately 4.5 pounds a year, with an average increase of 2 to 3.5 inches in height yearly. Developmentally, advances in both fine and gross motor skills as well as language and play develop quickly in this age group. Proper nutrition is vital to maximize these years of growth and development. According to Erikson, the preschool child has an emotional task of initiative versus guilt, and will discover that learning new things can be fun with a positive approach to teaching (Pillitteri, 2010). The nutrition requirements of a preschool aged child include: 6 servings from the bread and grains group
3 servings form the vegtable group
2 servings from the fruit group
2 servings from the milk and dairy group
2 servings from the meat group and the sparse use of the fats, oils and sweets group (Pillitteri, 2010, p. 791)
Children between the ages of 3-6 years of age are forming habits that will impact them for years to come. The caregiver should offer a variety of foods from the food pyramid and balance the food eaten with physical activity to assist the child in developing good nutritional habits. The caregiver should also model the type of behavior desired from the child in their own behavior to facilitate successful teaching (Denise Boyd, 2009). However, the child will ultimately hold the decision to intake the food. With this in mind, teaching the children about the importance of their decisions will aid in the development of healthy food choices through knowledge of nutrition. The...