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Preliminary Effects of the Youth Fit For Life Protocol on Body Mass Index in Mexican American Children in YMCA Before- and After-School Care Programs

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In the United States, Mexican American children have the highest prevalence of combined overweight and obesity at 43%. Youth obesity prevention interventions have demonstrated limited success. A preliminary trial of an intervention based on social cognitive theory, titled Youth Fit For Life, was conducted with 25 Mexican American children with a mean body mass index (BMI; kg/m2) in the 97th percentile. Measures were BMI for body composition, a shuttle run test for cardiorespiratory fitness, a push-up test for muscular strength, and a reach test for flexibility. Statistically significant improvements in each measure were found over 12 weeks. The effect size for BMI change (d = .14) was similar to findings using the intervention with White (d = .12) and African American (d = .18) children with a mean BMI in the 79th and 85th percentiles, respectively. The need for replication with larger samples and of psychosocial and behavioral factors possibly related to overweight were discussed to better determine the effectiveness of the Youth Fit For Life treatment with Mexican American children.

En los Estados Unidos, los niños de descendencia Mexicana, tienen una alta prevalencia de sobrepeso y obesidad que alcanza una tasa del 43%. Los programas de prevencion de la obesidad juvenile han tenido un exito limitado. Una prueba preliminary basada en la teoria social cognitiva, titulada Youth Fit For Life, se realizo en 25 niños Mexico-Americanos con un indice de masa corporal promedio (IMC; kg/m2) cerca del 97 percentil. Los parametros usados fueron, el indice de masa corporal (IMC) para la composicion corporal, una carrera de agilidad y aptitude fisica para evaluar el estado cardiorespiratorio, una prueba de planchas (push-ups) para determiner la fuerza muscular, y una prueba de alcanze para determinar la flexibilidad. Durante un periodo de 12 semanas se demostraron mejoras estadisticamente significativas. La magnitud del efecto de cambio en IMC (d = .14) fue similar al resultado de una intervencion que se llevo a cabo con niños de la raza blanca (d = .12) y niños Afro-Americanos (d = .18) con un IMC en el 79 y 85 percentil. Se debatio la necesidad de replicar este estudio con mayores muestras y que incluyan factores psicosociales y de conducta o comportamiento, para determinar la eficaciadel tratamiento, Youth Fit For Life, con niños Mexico-Americanos.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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