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Title:Jump Into Foods and Fitness
Alt. Title:JIFF
Pub. date: 2006
Edition: 2nd
Includes: Manual
Audience: Children, Elementary School
Language: English
Description:In this hands-on, Experiential Learning model-based curriculum, “JIFF (Jump into Foods and Fitness) the Joey”, a kangaroo, sets the stage for youth ages 8 to 11 (grades 3 to 5) to learn about the importance of nutrition, increased physical activity, and food safety. The spiral-bound program book contains eight "Kangaroo Jumps" (sessions) designed for use in 60- to 90-minute meetings, although the individual activities can also stand alone. Family education is included in the form of reproducible take home newsletters. Written for use by adults, including volunteers, and older youths, the book includes a program summary, facilitator background on child learning, youth development, tips for working with children, and adapting JIFF materials for a variety of settings, as well as general implementation information, eight detailed lesson plans with copy-ready handout/templates, and a resource list. Each individual session includes objectives and learning life skills, background basics for fitness and nutrition for the facilitator, icebreakers and "Attention Getters", several learning activities with summary/reflection guides and reproducible handouts, snack and activity suggestions, family newsletter and additional resources, including web links. A supplementary website is available at for additional resources and for families, staff, educators, volunteers, and for youth.

NOTE: This review has been adapted from a previous version. Curriculum content should now reflect MyPyramid for Kids recommendations.

Funding Source: USDA Food and Nutrition Services, Michigan Family Independence Agency, Michigan State University
Developer: Michigan State University Cooperative Extension
Phone: 517-432-7575
Length: 154 pages
Pilot Testing: Piloted tested in 2003 in 6 sites (MI and MN), with 194 boys and girls. Matched pair analysis of pre- and post-test, showed significant change in eating more healthy foods, increasing physical exercise, correctly identifying muscle groups and correctly identifying food guide pyramid message.

In the initial pilot, youth participants showed a significant change in eating more healthy foods, an increase in physical exercise, the ability to correctly, identify muscle groups, and the ability to correctly identify food guide pyramid. In more recent impact evaluation, the following statistically significant changes were identified:

  • Youth reporting "I always choose healthy snacks when I have the chance" increased from 28% to 45%.
  • Youth reporting "I always choose fruit every day (or drink real fruit juice)" increased from 52% to 67%.
  • Youth reporting "I always work on getting strong by doing exercises like tumbling, gymnastics, karate, push-ups, curl-ups, or playing on the monkey bars increased from 44% to 68%.
  • Youth reporting "I am always physically active until I sweat" increased from 48% to 57%.
Assessment instrument Used? yes
Use Restrictions: May copy for educational purposes.
Reviewers Comments: This physical activity and nutrition curriculum provides creative and fun activities that could be adapted to many different learning settings with children. The curriculum manual is well organized, includes an index, summary tables of the units, tabs for easy location, and headings in clear bold black and white text. The physical activities are consistent with current health recommendations, including MyPyramid and the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Experiential Learning Model is applied effectively through hands-on activities followed by reflection or “What Did I Do?” for which facilitator guidance is provided. The introductory section provides a complete over-view of the program and outlines tools for successful implementation. It provides useful background information on how children learn in general and how they learn health-related behaviors along with principles for positive youth development and basic tips for working with children. This added background information helps to make it possible for volunteers, teen facilitators, staff or other professionals without experience in childhood education or teaching to facilitate this program effectively. Similarly, the physical fitness and nutrition background information provided in each unit is well-written and in a language that is appropriate for leaders ranging from paraprofessionals to teen facilitators. The background information covers the use of JIFF in various settings, identification of other appropriate resources for use with the 8-11 year age group and adaptation of JIFF materials for use with other age groups. Each activity includes well-defined objectives and learning life skills that would aid in developing evaluation methods/activities. The physical activity lessons are detailed and include warm-up and cool-down options, as well as reminder about the importance of water/fluids. However, please note that the curriculum does not provide a compressive review of safety precautions recommended in physical activity, or provide information/accommodation for children with physical or health-related disabilities.

Curriculum is mentally and physically engaging for this age group, as exemplified in activities such as “muscle mania”, which introduces the muscles and the relationship to movement using a word association – “deltoids, the airplane muscles”, “abdominals, the dominator muscles”, “gluteus maximus, the glue muscle” and “the obliques, the ‘oh, boy’ muscles”. Materials for both the physical activities and the food snacks do require planning, preparation and supplies, but use common everyday items such as rope in the “spaghetti jump ropes”, boxes, empty milk cartons, streamers, or paper. Snacks included in the units are child-friendly, nutritious, tasty, low-cost, and easy-to-make, featuring foods from the food group or theme covered in the corresponding unit. Some of the snacks include “almost-pyramid’ sundaes, trail mix, tortilla pinwheels, nachos, and crunchy bananas. The handouts used in the sessions are child-friendly but could benefit from added graphics and heavier presence of Jiff the Joey who is featured heavily throughout the facilitator manual. Reading level should be reviewed for appropriateness for individual audiences.

The reproducible family newsletters are single page, back to back, clearly written, and well designed, including the JIFF the Joey image. They include information about food and fitness, food safety, a recipe, information on child development and growth and web links. The recipe included in each newsletter uses low-cost, common ingredients and is fun for kids. No indication of reading level determination.

NOTE: This review has been adapted from a previous version. Curriculum content should now reflect MyPyramid for Kids recommendations.

View/download files: 
Information for Staff, Educators & Volunteers (html):
Contact the Distributor:
    Distributor: Michigan State University Bulletin Office
    Mail: 117 Central Services
East Lansing, MI 48824-1001
    Phone: (517) 353-6740
    Fax: (517) 353-7168
    Order URL:Web Address
    Cost: 20.00 per manual
    Avail. in Qty: No

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