Seaver, Olivia Kathleen
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This study evaluated an after-school and a school-based program aimed at improving the dietary and physical activity patterns of youth in Georgia. Both programs utilized community-academic partnerships and community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods. Participants self-reported dietary and physical activity patterns pre- and post-intervention. Researchers measured height and weight of the after-school program participants pre- and post-intervention. No significant changes in dietary or physical activity patterns were reported for participants of the after-school program. Additionally, there were no significant changes in BMI. Site was significantly associated with behaviors, with site 3 consuming significantly more fruits, vegetables, healthy and unhealthy foods. Site 3 also reported participating in significantly more physical and sedentary activities. BMI was significantly negatively associated with consumption of fruits, vegetables and healthy foods as well as participation in physical activities. Age was significantly positively associated with being sedentary. The school-based program targeted both students and their parents. Students reported a significant increase in physical activity at school and a significant decrease in screen time. Students also reported a significant decrease in consumption of fruits. Female participants reported consuming significantly more fruit and participating in significantly fewer hours of screen time. Participants from school 2 consumed significantly more fruits and vegetables, but scored significantly lower for physical activity knowledge. Participants from school 3 scored significantly higher for nutrition knowledge, but reported participating in significantly less physical activity at school. Finally, participants from school 5 scored significantly higher for physical activity knowledge. Parents reported participating in significantly more physical activity overall and with their child/children. Parents also reported that their children participated in significantly more physical activity both at school and outside of school. There were significant increases in the reported frequency of reading nutrition labels and the number of nutrients parents considered when purchasing a food item. Findings from this study suggest that after-school programs can improve the dietary and physical activity patterns of youth. School-based programs can influence behaviors and knowledge of both students and parents. Community-academic partnerships and CBPR are viable means of creating and implementing effective nutrition and physical activity interventions targeting youth and their parents.