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Theses Doctoral

Food, Health and Choices: Development and formative evaluation of an innovative intervention to reduce childhood obesity

Abrams, Emily

Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic that calls for more effective, school-based interventions. As such, the aim of the present study was to systematically describe the steps in the development of and conduct a formative evaluation for Food, Health and Choices (FHC), an innovative approach to reducing childhood that incorporates curriculum with classroom wellness policy and parental supports. The formative evaluation includes both process and outcome evaluations. The purpose of evaluating the formative stage of research was to learn about ways to strengthen and improve the quality of program implementation and the appropriateness of study instruments in anticipation of the full intervention year. Results from the process evaluation revealed key factors to include in formative studies for school-based interventions, particularly for maximizing a program's ability to change behavior and the ability for evaluation instruments to detect any changes. Recommendations include shortening and simplifying lesson content, adding more visuals and hands-on activities to lessons, modifying the goal-setting process, making the physical activity component more engaging, rallying teacher support of the program, providing teachers with on-going support, and obtaining regular teacher feedback. The process instruments found to be most useful were the mid-intervention PD sessions, lesson observation forms, unit summary sheets, teacher interviews, and student interviews. Results from the outcome evaluation demonstrated that students successfully made changes in some of the targeted behaviors and are sufficiently promising to proceed with the full trial contingent upon program improvements being made.

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More Information

Academic Units
Behavioral Nutrition
Thesis Advisors
Contento, Isobel
Degree
Ph.D., Teachers College
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