Online Program

Choose to Change: A school and family based obesity prevention intervention amongst Pre-Kindergarteners and their families

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Kayla Morris, B.S., WVU Extension Services, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Kara Viggiano, BS, MPH, Choose to Change, WVU Davis College, Morgantown, WV
Emily Murphy, PhD, Families and Health, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Elaine Bowen, EdD, Families and Health, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Lesley A. Cottrell, Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Megan Atkins, West Virginia University - Animal Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Tamara Gray, Community Coordinator for Choose To Change Project, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Anna Scott, RD, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
A vital time for obesity prevention is during the preschool years, when children establish healthy eating habits and physical activity (PA) patterns. Seventy-five percent of preschool children spend 35 hours per week in child care. Therefore, early childcare settings can play a crucial role in helping to prevent obesity. The Choose to Change Project, an early childhood obesity prevention study, uses an ecological approach to explore individual, family and environmental factors that influence weight status amongst Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K).

The study takes place in 42 (20 intervention, 22 control) Pre-K schools in two West Virginia counties. Teachers and aides at the interventions sites were trained in IMIL, a health promotion and obesity prevention enhancement tool. The objectives of IMIL are to: 1) increase moderate to vigorous PA, 2) improve the quality of structured PA, and 3) improve nutrition choices. IMIL was implemented in the classrooms and 4 parent education sessions were conducted for the intervention schools throughout the year. The parent education sessions focused on strategies to improve the PA and nutrition choices at home.  These education sessions included demonstrating the importance of eating, moving, cooking, and having fun together as a family. 

Over 95% of parents (160 active families from three cohorts) attending each parent education sessions report that they will make behavioral changes as a family related to each of the four education session’s healthy lifestyle themes.

Choose to Change will provide important information regarding what factors are associated with weight status in Pre-K children as well as whether a school- and family-based obesity prevention intervention can improve PA patterns and healthy eating behaviors amongst families with Pre-K children.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe and explain a health promotion and obesity prevention enhancement tool, developed and utilized by the Choose to Change program.

Keyword(s): Child Health Promotion, School-Based Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently the Graduate Research Assistant assigned to the Choose to Change project and have been trained properly to present and answer questions regarding the program.
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.