Working with the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Nutrition Network, The Center for Evaluation and Research at The University of Iowa School of Social Work, National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice is conducting evaluations of the 2017-2018 Pick a Better Snack program and the Growing Bolder initiative with the Iowa Department on Aging. Pick a Better Snack has developed social marketing campaigns and an educational curriculum for kindergarten through third-grade students in Iowa. The PABS campaign and curriculum were intended to increase eating of healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables in previous years; in 2017-2018 the focus is on increased knowledge through educational lessons in third-grade classrooms in schools that meet the free and reduced lunch requirement. The Growing Bolder evaluation is measuring collaboration in communities across Iowa addressing the problem of food insecurity among seniors. Social network analysis and community surveys are being conducted to track changes over time.
From 2008 through 2012 evaluations focused on classroom instruction of children encouraging them to request fruits and vegetables at home. In 2011, the evaluation assisted in tracking classroom activities of nutrition educators as part of a national cross-site evaluation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-ED) program models.