The Food-based Early Education (FEEd) Lab's research focuses on childhood overweight prevention by improving early childhood teachers' food and nutrition education strategies when working with children (birth-5 years) and their families. Food and nutrition education strategies include providing teacher professional development (personal wellness and pedagogy), developing evidence-based integrative STEAM learning curricula for classroom environments, and working with local, state, and national partners to expand programming. Dr. Stage's work is guided by the CDC's Social Ecological Model for Food and Physical Activity Decisions, and uses qualitative and quantitative methods to examine these areas of research.


Current and past research in The FEEd Lab has focused on:

  • Examining the influence of teachers' background (e.g. knowledge, attitudes, health behaviors, prior experience with food) on the food and nutrition education strategies implemented in their classrooms
  • Influence of teachers' feeding/nutrition education strategies on young children's food consumption/preferences and learning eating behaviors
  • Understanding communication between teachers and parents related to young children's food consumption/preferences and eating behaviors
  • Influence of the teacher/parent relationship (specifically related to food/nutrition) on children's food consumption/preferences and eating behaviors in the classroom environment
  • Development and evaluation of teacher professional development programming focused on personal health behaviors (collaboration with North Carolina State University Expanded Food & Nutrition Program)
  • Development and evaluation of integrative curricula using food as a STEAM education teaching tool for young children (1-5 years) attending Head Start programs
  • Influence of local, state, and federal policy (e.g. CACFP) on the food and nutrition education strategies teachers use with young children and families


  1. Stage, V., Diaz, S., Hovland, J.A., Kolasa, K., Duffrin, M.W. (2017) Exploring Associations among Nutrition, Science, and Mathematics Domains of Knowledge for an Integrative Food-based Curriculum: A Multiple Regression Analysis. Journal of School Health, 88(1), 15-2. DOI: 10.1111/josh.12576 PubMed
  2. Dev, D., Stage, V., Schober, D.J., Kok, C.M., McBride, B.A., Kok, C.M., & Ramsay, S. (2017). Implementing the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Benchmarks for Nutrition Education for Children: Child-Care Providers' Perspectives. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, 117(12), 1963-1971. DOI: 10.1016/jand.2017.07.001 PubMed
  3. Stage, V., Wilkerson, K.**, Hegde, A., Lisson, A.**, Babatunde, T., & Goodell, L.S. (2017). Head Start Administrator and Teacher Perceptions of Parental Influence on Preschool Children and Nutrition Education. Journal of Early Childhood Research. 1476718X17705415
  4. Peterson, A.**, Stage, V., Dev., D., Hegde, A., & Goodell, S. (2017). Teacher Perceptions of Multilevel Policies and the Influence on Nutrition Education in North Carolina Head Start Preschools. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior, 49(5), 387-396. PubMed
  5. Lisson, S.**, Dev, D., Wilkerson, K., Goodell, S., & Stage, V. (2016). Availability and Use of Nutrition Education Resources in North Carolina-based Head Start Preschool Programs. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior, 48(9), 655-663. DOI:10.1016/j.jneb.2016.07.016 PubMed
  6. Goodell, S., Stage, V., & Cooke, N.K. (2016). Practical qualitative research strategies: training interviewers and coders. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior, 48(8), 578-585. Epub Jul 7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2016.06.001 PubMed
  7. Roseno, A., Carraway-Stage, V., Geist, G., & Duffrin, M. (2014). Exploring Sunflower Seeds: A thematic approach to science Inquiry for young children. Young Children, 70(3), 88-91.
  8. Carraway-Stage, V., Spangler, H.**, Borges, M.**, & Goodell, S. (2014). Evaluation of a Pictorial Method to Assess Fruit and Vegetable Preference among Preschool Children. Appetite, 75, 11-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.12.011 PubMed
  9. Carraway-Stage, V., Henson, S.R.**, Dipper, A.**, Spangler, H.**, Ash, S.L., Goodell, S. (2014). Understanding the State of Nutrition Education in the Head Start Classroom: A Qualitative Approach. American Journal of Health Education. 45, 52-62. DOI: 10.1080/19325037.2013.853000

For a full list of publications: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=-J5VsKUAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao