Online Program

Impacting dietary behaviors of children from low income communities: An evaluation of a theory-based nutrition education program

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gail L. Kaye, PhD, LPCC, RD, LD, Health Behavior and Health Promotion, The Ohio State University, College of Public Health, Columbus, OH
Paul Wesley Branscum, PhD, RD, Department of Health and Exercise Science, The University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Julie Warner, MS, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
The purpose of this study was to evaluate an expanded version of the Food Fit program, a 14-week, social cognitive theory based (SCT) nutrition intervention, with eighty-five children from a low-income community. Outcome measures included BMI percentile and dietary behaviors, which were evaluated before and after the program, and after a three-month follow up period, and social cognitive theory constructs, including behavioral capabilities (BC), self efficacy (SE), and outcome expectations (OE), which were evaluated before and after each lesson. Results showed significant improvements for behavioral capability in eleven of the fourteen lessons (overall p<0.001), but there were little changes in self-efficacy and outcome expectancies. There was also a significant improvement in dietary behaviors (p<0.036), and an increase in BMI-percentile (p<0.001). Compared with the previous implementation of Food Fit with children from middle-income families, this group had fewer self-reported changes in confidence and desire to use the skills discussed during the program. Food Fit appears to be effective at impacting children's behavioral capabilities, but less effective at impacting SE and OE in this low-income group. Reasons for the differences between the socioeconomic groups necessitate further investigation. Recommendations for future research and practice will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe practices to surmount limitations noted for previous childhood health promotion programs targeting nutrition. Describe a new theory based program designed to promote healthy dietary behaviors associated with the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. Apply constructs from the Social Cognitive Theory of Learning to promote healthy dietary behaviors that have been associated with the prevention of childhood obesity.

Keyword(s): Obesity, Theory

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the co-principal investigator for 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.