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Promoting Cooking, Nutrition, and Physical Activity in Afterschool Settings

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Objective: In this study, we evaluated the afterschool PAWS (Peer-education About Weight Steadiness) Club program delivered by peer or adult educators to improve food choices, physical activity, and psychosocial variables related to healthy eating. Methods: We had 109 adolescents (53 in adult-led group; 56 in peer-led group) participate in a cluster randomized controlled intervention. The 12-session curriculum framed within Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and Stages of Change addressed mediators of behavior change related to cooking skills, food intake, and physical activity. Anthropometric, dietary intake, physical activity, and SCT mediators were assessed at baseline, post-intervention, and 6-months post-intervention. Results: Adolescents in the peer-led group significantly improved whole grain intake at post-intervention (p = .017) and 6-months post-intervention (p = .014). Both peer-led and adult-led groups had significant reductions in caloric intake at 6-months post-intervention (p = .047). Only the adult-led group improved self-efficacy (SE) and social/family support (SS) for healthy eating at post-intervention [p = .019 (SE); p = .048 (SS)] and 6-months post-intervention [p = .036 (SE); p = .022 (SS)]. Conclusions: The PAWS Club program promoted lower caloric intake by adolescents. Peer educators were effective at increasing whole grains in adolescents, and adult educators contributed to positive changes in SE and SS related to healthy eating.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Henna Muzaffar, Assistant Professor and EDOC Facilitator, School of Health Studies, College of Health and Human Sciences, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL;, Email: [email protected] 2: Cassandra Nikolaus, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Institute of Research and Education to Advance Community Health, Seattle, WA 3: Brian G. Ogolsky, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 4: Amanda Lane, UF Health Shands Dialysis Center, Gainesville, FL 5: Carli Liguori, Visiting Instructor, Department of Health and Physical Activity, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 6: Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson, Associate Dean and Director of Extension and Outreach and Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

Publication date: November 1, 2019

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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