Scheduled for Free Communication: Trends in Physical Activity and Health Among Youth, Friday, April 3, 2009, 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM, Tampa Convention Center: 9

Outcomes of a Multimedia High School Obesity Prevention Program

Leanne M. Mauriello, Karen J. Sherman, Andrea L. Paiva, Mary Margaret Ciavatta, Patricia H. Castle, Janet L. Johnson and Janice M. Prochaska, Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc., West Kingston, RI


Childhood obesity remains a prevalent and serious public and school health concern. Prevention programs which are cost-effective, science-based and easily deliverable can be effective solutions to help curb the rate of obesity. The purpose of this presentation is to present the 12-month outcomes of Health in Motion, a computer-delivered, population–based obesity prevention program for adolescents. The program administers on-screen assessments and immediate, tailored feedback based on the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change. Physical activity (PA) is the fully tailored behavior with optimally tailored sections on fruit and vegetable consumption (FV) and sedentary behavior (SB).


Eight schools throughout the US were randomized to either treatment or control group and participated in a 14-month trial. Treatment group participants received three intervention sessions and two follow-up assessments, while control group participants received four assessment-only sessions. The majority of participants (N=1800) were White (71.5%), female (50.8%), and 16 years old (SD=.94). For each behavior 2X3 repeated measures ANCOVA's were conducted with group (treatment and control) and time (2mo, 6mo, and 12mo). Post-hoc comparisons were performed using the Bonferroni adjustment for multiple comparisons.


The main effect for group was significant for PA, F(1, 477)=15.13,p<.001,ç²=.03, for FV F(1,693)=88.14, p< .001,ç² =.11., and for SB, F(1,434)=7.96, p< .01,ç² =.02. For PA the treatment group reported significantly more days exercising per week compared to the control group at 2 months (3.44 vs. 2.69) and 12 months (3.42 vs. 2.79). For FV, the treatment group reported consuming more servings of fruits and vegetables per day compared to the control group at 2 months (4.0 vs. 2.94), 6 months (3.69 vs. 2.66), and 12 months (3.78 vs. 2.84). For SB, the treatment group reported significantly less hours of TV per day compared to the control group at 2 months (3.48 vs. 4.21) and 12 months (3.34 vs. 3.81). For all three behaviors significantly less treatment group participants were at-risk for all three behaviors at follow-up timepoints.


Longitudinal analyses indicate the effectiveness of Health in Motion to initiate behavior change for all three behaviors and its ability to enhance energy balance behaviors within a cost-effective, science-based, and easily deliverable intervention. Schools are a viable channel by which this program can reach large groups of adolescents. Due to the numerous effects that obesity has on youth, school administrators as well as teachers play a crucial role in bringing evidence-based interventions to schools to help curb the obesity epidemic.

Keyword(s): exercise/fitness/physical activity, health promotion, obesity issues

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