248391 Creating healthy afterschool environments for obesity prevention through the Healthy Behaviors Initiative's 6 Exemplary Practices

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:06 PM

Liz Schwarte, MPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Sallie Yoshida, DrPH, RD , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Sarah Samuels, DrPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Kathy Lewis , Center for Collaborative Solutions, Sacramento, CA
Andria Fletcher, PhD , Center for Collaborative Solutions, Sacramento, CA
The Healthy Behaviors Initiative was launched in 2004 by the Center for Collaborative Solutions in partnership with the California Department of Public Health in response to alarming child obesity rates. A comprehensive Exemplary Practices guide emphasizing 6 key practice areas was developed to strengthen afterschool programs' nutrition, physical activity and food security practices. Key informant interviews were conducted to understand the impact of the Exemplary Practices on creating environments that support healthy food choices, physical activity and food security.

Seventeen program staff from 9 afterschool programs participated in 45 minute telephone interviews. Key informants included site and district program directors, program coordinators, and nutrition and physical activity coordinators. Using content analysis, data were analyzed to identify themes and key findings.

Interviewees reported that integrating the 6 Exemplary Practices into their afterschool programs provided a unifying framework and vision that helped to incorporate health into everyday learning. Interviewees reported that students, staff and families are adopting healthier eating and physical activity practices. Although one of the most challenging practices to implement, programs have been able to help strengthen food security for families. Interviewees reported that healthy behaviors have become ingrained in the culture of the after school program.

Afterschool programs are uniquely positioned to play a role in obesity prevention by creating environments where healthy behaviors can be developed and reinforced. These findings demonstrate that the Healthy Behaviors Initiative and implementation of the Exemplary Practices have helped to support healthy eating and physical activity for low-income, ethnically diverse afterschool program participants.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1)Explain the importance of strengthening the afterschool food and physical activity environments. 2) Describe 3 ways in which afterschool programs can play a role in addressing childhood obesity. 3) Name 3 of the 6 Exemplary Practices of the Healthy Behaviors Initiative

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a co-project manager and have been involved in every aspect of this research.
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.