University of Northern Colorado (Colorado School of Public Health) (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Page: 3977
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Data from NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) show that the prevalence of obesity has increased in children aged 6-11 years from 6.5% to 17%. In the Weld County School District 6 in Northern Colorado, 15% of high school students stated they consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day and 9% were considered at risk for overweight. Obese children and adolescents are more likely to become obese adults. The “Plugged-In” Nutrition and Health Intervention Program was a pilot study and interdisciplinary effort by the University of Northern Colorado’s MPH Program, Dietetics Program and Professional Education Program to promote the health of Weld County youth. Partners were mobilized from the Weld County School District 6, the 21st Century After-School Program, the Centennial Elementary School Health Clinic, and Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Program. Each partner provided input in the development of a 10-week intervention for students involved with Centennial Elementary School’s After-School Program. The goals for the program were to: 1) increase healthy dietary practices; 2) increase eating behaviors; 3) increase parenting capacities; and ultimately; 4) decrease the incidence of obesity.

The intervention consisted of three components: nutrition, comprehensive school health and partners in parenting. The researchers assigned elementary students to three cohorts upon receiving informed consent and assent. Intervention Group #1 consisted of the elementary students participating in a nutrition education curriculum taught by UNC Dietetic Program Students and participating in a school health curriculum taught by UNC Professional Education School Health Students. Intervention Group #2 consisted of the elementary students only participating in the school health curriculum. Control group received no intervention. Pre- and post-tests were administered to determine changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors in relationship to nutrition and health practices. Parents were also surveyed on nutrition practices. Height, weight and body fat were measured and BMI was calculated at pre- and post-test. Included in the evaluation measures were process surveys to determine what the UNC Professional Education School Health and Dietetic Program Students teaching the curriculums learned from the experience as well as what changes needed to be implemented for future studies.

Preliminary results show that UNC students learned more about the procedures on how to educate youth on health and nutrition issues and how to conduct a research protocol. This research project enabled the intervention team to inform, educate, and empower people about health issues as well as mobilize community partnerships in an effort to solve health problems in youth.