207272 Tommy, Ms. Water, and their puppet friends promote good nutrition and exercise to children in inner-city Hartford

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sofía Segura-Pérez, MS, RD , Center for Community Nutrition, Hispanic Health Council, Hartford, CT
Gilma Galdamez, BS , Hispanic Health Council, Hartford, CT
Grace Damio, MS, CDN , NIH EXPORT Center for Eliminating Health Disparities among Latinos, Hispanic Health Council, Hartford, CT
Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, PhD , Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Connecticut NIH EXPORT Center for Eliminating Health Disparities among Latinos, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Among Hispanic 6-11 year-old children, overweight rates are 27.5% among boys and 19.7% among girls. Thus, early childhood interventions are necessary for the prevention of childhood obesity. The Hispanic Family Nutrition Program, a partnership between the Hispanic Health Council (HHC) and the University of Connecticut (UConn), has developed a series of six interactive bilingual puppet shows to promote good nutrition and healthy lifestyles among low income children attending preschool through third grade in inner city Hartford public schools. One of the shows, “Tommy Enjoys Exercising” delivers messages for obesity prevention including: a) eating healthy foods from the five food groups especially fruits and vegetables; b) keeping active by limiting television viewing and playing sports; and c) drinking water, as advised by “Ms. Water”, instead of sugary drinks. Satisfaction surveys completed by classroom teachers (n=212) viewing this puppet show indicate that: 74% rated it as very good or excellent; 70% considered it to be of high educational value; and 41% felt that the children's nutrition knowledge improved ‘a lot' as a result of this presentation. Interactions of the puppeteers with the children before and after viewing the show corroborate this finding. Overall, 99% would recommend the puppet show to others. This program is funded by the USDA SNAP-Ed program.

Learning Objectives:
1)Explain the use of puppets as a nutrition education tool for the prevention of childhood obesity. 2)Discuss how to conduct process evaluations to improve content and delivery of puppet shows.

Keywords: Hispanic, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I'm the program coordinator and I have provided leadership to this initiative for the last 6 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.