244336 Effect of a Novel Intervention on Caloric and Menu Board Literacy Among Low-Income Preadolescent Schoolchildren

Monday, October 31, 2011

Olajide Williams, MD MS , The Neurological Institute, Division of Stroke, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY
Vanessa Sawyer, MS RD , Neurology, Harlem Hospital, New York, NY
Alexandra DeSorbo, MPH , Department of Neurology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY
Background: Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S (Healthy Eating And Living in Schools) is a school-based, interactive multimedia intervention incorporating hip-hop music, cartoons, and video games. HEALS teaches caloric and menu board literacy and promotes smarter food choices with the aid of calorie postings at the point-of-purchase. Methods: We enrolled 202 low-income schoolchildren aged 8-11 years into two day, one hour per-day HEALS sessions using a pretest/posttest intervention design. Baseline, immediate posttest and 6-month posttest were administered to children. We assessed calorie and menu board-literacy with a 6-item, multiple-choice questionnaire. Test items include four knowledge-based and two behavioral skill questions, modeled after the validated CATCH Health Behavior Questionnaire and After-School Student Questionnaire. Results: Overall, caloric and menu board literacy improved significantly across all domains. Prior to the intervention (BT), 31% of children knew what calories are compared to 91% immediately following the program (IT), and 48% 6 months later (DT). Regarding knowledge of daily caloric requirements 22% BT, 70% IT, 57% DT. Menu board literacy also improved in two domains: identification of calorie dense items (52% BT, 88% IT, 75% DT); identification of low-calorie items (67% BT, 87% IT, 81% DT). Understanding of caloric balance also improved (51% BT, 73% IT, 64% DT). All p-values were significant across BT, IT and DT (p<.05). Conclusion: Our findings suggest that HEALS significantly improves caloric and menu board literacy among low-income schoolchildren. Larger randomized studies are needed to confirm our findings and determine whether such knowledge and skills can lead to improved food-purchasing behavior.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. To assess the effectiveness of the Hip Hop HEALS (Healthy Eating And Living in Schools) program to improve caloric and menu board literacy among low-income schoolchildren.

Keywords: Nutrition, Child Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I assisted with the development, research study design, data analysis, and write-up.
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.