Online Program

An intermediary outcome evaluation of dare county, North Carolina's "peer power" program

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 9:42 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Ashley Tucker, MPH, Brody School of Medicine, Department of Public Health, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Nancy Winterbauer, PhD, MS, Brody School of Medicine, Department of Public Health, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Anne Thomas, RN, MPA, Dare County Department of Public Health, Manteo, NC
Laura Willingham, MEd, Dare County Department of Public Health, Manteo, NC
Peer Power is a peer health education program that was launched in 2001 as a collaborative effort between the Dare County (NC) Department of Public Health and Dare County Schools. High school students are trained by health educators via evidence-based materials to teach elementary and middle school students about physical activity, nutrition, and the consequences of tobacco use. An early qualitative evaluation indicated short-term knowledge and behavior change among participants, but the program has not yet been evaluated for longer-term outcomes. This natural experiment compared risk behaviors among youth who did and did not participate in the program in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic school years. Ninth and tenth grade students in attendance at one county high school were surveyed two to three years later, during the 2012-2013 academic school year, about their health behaviors regarding physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco use. Responses from the students who participated in the Peer Power program in the 7th grade (n=141) were compared to those who did not receive Peer Power (n=125). Findings indicate that students exposed to the program exhibit healthier lifestyle choices than those unexposed. Most importantly, they are more likely to report frequent exercise (p<.001), higher fruit and vegetable consumption (p<.001), and abstinence from tobacco products (p=.004). Peer Power appears to be a promising approach to peer-led, school-based chronic disease prevention. These results can be used to support continued funding and expansion of the curriculum into other grade levels or schools. Future research should address longer-term and more robust outcomes.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
Describe the benefits of participation in peer health education. Identify the importance of school- and community-based collaboration.

Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Peer Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I worked with the Dare County Health Department as an intern with the Peer Power program for approximately 6 months. All data presented in abstract was original data that I collected and analyzed. I am also a student at East Carolina University. I will receive my Master of Public Health degree in the Spring of 2013.
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.