Capacity building for nutrition education

China School Nutrition Project

Title: WHO/China School Nutrition Project
Country: China


As part of its technical assistance to the Government of China in the promotion of health-promoting schools (HPS),  the  Health Education and Health Promotion Unit of WHO collaborated with FAO in six pilot schools of the Zhejiang Province in the development of HPS with a focus on nutrition. FAO provided technical assistance in the field of nutrition education (curriculum and material development), capacity building among local education, nutrition and health professionals, as well as in project design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.


  • To contribute to the improvement of the nutrition and health status of students in the project schools through health and nutrition interventions; 
  •  To develop a model project for nutrition interventions as an entry point for the development of health promoting schools, which can be replicated by other schools in China.

 Project Outcomes

 Main actors in the implementation:

  • Students and teachers of six selected pilot schools 
  • Staff of local health and education service providers and governmental institutions (Health Education Institute of Zhejiang Province;
  • Center of Disease Control and Prevention; Provincial Bureau of Education);
  • National health, nutrition and education experts;
  • international experts from WHO, EDC and FAO

 Materials and activities:

  • Advocacy on the concept and implementation of Health Promoting Schools (HPS)
  • Training of all stakeholders in the promotion and improvement of nutrition within HPS, as well as general project planning, implementation and evaluation
  • Chinese version of publication WHO/FAO (1998) Healthy nutrition: An essential element of a health-promoting school. Schools produced a wide variety of teaching and learning materials on food, nutrition and health.
  • Improvements of nutrition and health was pursued through a wide variety of activities, employing different communication channels, including outreach to families and the community
  • Site visits with students (e.g. to "City Lunch Kitchen")
  • Development and preparation of nutritious meals in schools;
  • Development of school Web pages.
  • Surveys in the community; "open school days"; "parents' school"

 Main results:

  • Schools had developed and implemented a wide range of nutrition education and other health promoting activities.
  • Significant improvements in a number of the studied variables, regarding nutrition knowledge, attitudes and practices

Lessons learned:



  • Good and supportive school management (leadership)
  • Government support and adequate funding
  • Collaboration of schools with the municipality and with health care providers


  • Giving students a role in communication with parents and the wider community
  • Using interactive approaches and encouraging active roles for students and teachers
  •  Involving students in all phases of menu planning
  • Applying creativity and imagination in recipe selection, meal presentation and accompanying information campaign.
  • Making use of positive peer influence
  • Integrating nutrition into other school subjects


  • Full involvement and maintenance of close ties with parents and the community
  • Regular meetings with students and parents

Plans and standards

  • Good standard of school facilities, equipment, etc
  • Clear and detailed programme and work plan set by the school management

Materials and activities

  • Producing a variety of own materials on food, nutrition and health
  • A wide spectrum of activities, involving many different communication channels for teaching, and outreach to families and the community.
  • Site visits with students
  • Development and preparation of nutritious meals
  • School Web pages
  • Surveys in the community; open school days; “parent’s school”


Resources (incl. time and materials)

  • Burden on individual teachers can be considerable
  • Lack of written teaching/learning material
  • Insufficient integration of nutrition eduction into regular curriculum

Training and outreach

  • Teachers need up-to-date nutrition training prior to their project involvement.
  • Training of students and teachers needs to be simultaneous and ongoing.
  • Limited nutrition knowledge and inappropriate attitudes among general population
  • Overwhelming need for health and nutrition information in families and community which schools alone cannot satisfy.
  • Need for outreach to families and communities.

last updated:  Friday, January 8, 2016