Trends in health behavior and weight outcomes following enhanced afterschool programming participation

Jessica Rieder, Jee Young Moon, Joanna Joels, Viswanathan Shankar, Paul Meissner, Elicia Johnson-Knox, Bailey Frohlich, Shelby Davies, Judy Wylie-Rosett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The United States needs to increase access to effective obesity prevention and treatment programming for impoverished youth at risk for health disparities. Although recommended, schools have difficulty consistently implement evidence-based obesity programing. We report on the effectiveness of adding structured nutrition education and minimum physical activity (PA) requirements to standard middle school after-school programming. Methods: Using a longitudinal pre-post study design, we evaluated program effectiveness at one year on target behaviors on students recruited during three consecutive school years (2016–2018). We used generalized linear (or logistic) mixed-effects modeling to determine: 1) impact on healthy weight and target healthy behavior attainment, and 2) whether target behavior improvement and weight change were associated with after-school program attendance. The seven target behaviors relate to eating healthy, physical activity, and sleep. Results: Over the three years, a total of 76 students enrolled and completed one year of programming (62% Hispanic, 46% girls, 72% with BMI > 85th %ile, 49% with BMI > 95th %ile). Of students with BMI > 85th %ile, 44% maintained or decreased BMI Z-score. There were improvements (non-significant) in BMI Z-score and the adoption of four healthy eating behaviors: fruit, vegetables, sugar-free beverages, and unhealthy snack food. Students with higher after-school attendance (> 75%) had greater improvements (non-significant) in composite behavior scores, BMI Z-score, and in most target behaviors (5/7) than students with lower after-school attendance (< 75%). Sleep improvements were significantly associated with BMI Z-score decrease (Beta = − 0.05, 95% CI (− 0.1,-0.003), p = 0.038.) Conclusions: Enhancement of existing after-school programming with structured nutrition education and minimum physical activity requirements demonstrates positive improvements in several health behaviors and weight outcomes. Adopting enhanced after-school programming increases access to health activities and may bring us closer to solving obesity in at-risk youth in impoverished communities. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.govidentifier (NCT number):NCT03565744. Registered 21 June 2018 – Retrospectively registered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number672
JournalBMC public health
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Adolescent obesity
  • Afterschool programming
  • Healthy eating
  • Physical activity
  • School health
  • Sleep
  • Target behaviors
  • Wellness Cascade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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