Online Program

Factors to consider when developing health promotion activities and policies influencing the health and nutrition of youth in school-based settings

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ghaffar Hurtado, PhD, Extension, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
Abby Gold, PhD, MPH, RD, Master's in Public Health Program, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND

Kelly Kunkel, MS, MCHES, Center for Family Development, University of Minnesota Extension, Mankato, MN
Mary Schroeder, MPH, RD, LD, Center for Family Development, University of Minnesota Extension, Marshall, MN
Hyunjun Kim, Family Development Research and Evaluation, University of Minnesota Extension, St. Paul, MN
Sue Sing Lim, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
Kristina Alviz, MA, Center For Family Development, Extension, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
Background: This study assesses the effectiveness of a school-based intervention titled ‘Go Wild with Fruits and Veggies!’ (GoWild). The 7-lesson curriculum aims to increase fruit and vegetable (FV) intake among 3rd graders. The program includes taste-testing, classroom activities, take-home challenges, and parent newsletters.

Methods: 22 schools were randomly assigned into either the treatment (10 classrooms; 180 participants) or delayed treatment (control) condition (12 classrooms; 217 participants), following a longitudinal group-randomized trial. All youth participants, and a parent/caregiver completed evaluation surveys at months, 1, 3, 6, and 12. Primary outcomes was fruit and vegetable (FV) intake. Theoretical mediators included food preference, attitudes and behaviors regarding healthy food, among others.

Hierarchical Linear Modeling was used to analyze program outcomes, levels included participant, school, and time variables.

Results: The results for all fitted models indicate small, but statistically reliable, differences in the intended directionality in: Youth ask to buy a new vegetable (β =0.06); Trying new fruit and vegetable (β =0.05); Tell [parents] about new vegetables (β =0.08), and Fruit intake (β =0.16) for both groups across the duration of the study.

Conclusions: The study found intervention effects followed a quadratic trajectory in vegetable intake, short-term increase and decrease in the long term, and small increments in Fruit Intake in the long-term. The intervention components affected precursors of healthy behaviors. The school level results explained over half of total variability. Programmatically, study findings helped to strategically incorporate multilevel programming to increase program impacts that both pedagogy and environment have on healthy behaviors.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Explain the relative impact that a classroom health promotion activity has on behavior. Assess the difference between environmental and didactic approaches to health promotion.

Keyword(s): Child Health Promotion, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I (A.Hurtado) have over 12 years experience in behavioral research. I have been the principal or co-investigator in longitudinal studies focusing on health promotion and prevention interventions, including nutrition and tobacco. My scientific interest is health promotion with special focus on immigrant and low income families.
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.