J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2016 07;63(1):106-12
*USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine †Houston Parks and Recreation Department, City of Houston ‡Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston.
Objectives: Improving self-esteem, dietary habits, and physical activity is essential for long-term success in childhood obesity prevention. The aim is to evaluate the effects of a healthy living promotion program, Healthy Kids-Houston, on BMI, dietary habits, self-esteem, and physical activity among minority children.
Methods: The after-school program was implemented at community centers in low-income neighborhoods with close proximity to public schools. The program consisted of 3 6-week sessions. Each week, children attended 2 2-hour sessions. Each 2-hour session in the intervention included 90 minutes of structured physical activities and 30 minutes of nutrition and healthy habit lessons. The control group received typical enrichment programs. Outcomes were measured before the intervention and at the end of each 6-week session.
Results: We enrolled 877 children (age 10.2 ± 0.1 years (mean ± SE); body mass index z score: 1.49 ± 0.1; 52.0% boys; 72.6% Hispanic) in the program with 524 children received the intervention at 14 community centers and 353 children served as control at 10 community centers. The intervention led to no improvements in BMI z score (P = 0.78) and dietary habits (P = 0.46). Significant improvements (P ≤ 0.02) were detected in the amount of exercise that a child perceived to be required to offset a large meal and in several key self-esteem scores. No improvements were detected in physical activities (P ≥ 0.21).
Conclusions: The improvement in some key self-esteem scores and nutrition knowledge may act as a mediator to motivate these children to adopt a healthier lifestyle in the future.