233679 Integrating fun with experiential learning: Utilizing museums to promote healthy foods, active lifestyles, and social justice

Monday, November 8, 2010

Janelle Abriani, MPH , Tba, Tba, Tba, AL
Background: Despite various interventions implemented through school and community settings, childhood obesity remains a major public health problem. New and innovative community-based interventions to address childhood obesity are therefore needed. Children's museums provide an ideal setting to implement interventions aimed to influence lifestyle behaviors since they foster an active learning environment and reach a diverse audience, in terms of age and ethnicity. To address childhood obesity, the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose developed an exhibit that promotes health and wellness through interactive learning and play that educates and empowers families to eat healthy. Methods: An integrated qualitative and quantitative evaluation method was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the Rainbow Pizza & Market exhibit at the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose. The evaluation determined the exhibit's short-term impact on awareness and behavioral intentions among museum visitors (parents/guardians and children) towards daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Data, containing responses to closed and open-ended questions, were collected through surveys administered to visitors at the exhibit. Results: The exhibit significantly increased awareness and motivation among visitors towards consumption of fruits and vegetables. Parents were more likely to discuss with their children the importance of eating fruits and vegetables after visiting the exhibit. Conclusion: By promoting health in a public setting, museums reach a diverse audience and hence play an integral role in addressing healthy lifestyle behaviors and health inequalities within our communities. Given the 300+ network of children's museums in the U.S., museums have great potential to reduce childhood obesity

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain why children’s museums are an effective medium for promoting healthy lifestyles. 2. Identify three methods used to build awareness among museum visitors about the importance of healthy eating. 3. Discuss how museums can collaborate with various community entities to further promote their health intervention programs, especially to underserved populations.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: student conducting research under faculty supervision
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.

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