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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: The effect of a communications campaign on middle school students' nutrition and physical activity: Results of the HEALTHY study

Authors
item Schneider, Margaret -
item Debar, Lynn -
item Calingo, Ashley -
item Hall, Will -
item Hindes, Katie -
item Sleigh, Adriana -
item Thompson, Deborah
item Volpe, Stella -
item Zeveloff, Abby -
item Pham, Trang -
item Steckler, Allan -

Submitted to: Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 12, 2011
Publication Date: June 1, 2013
Citation: Schneider, M., Debar, L., Calingo, A., Hall, W., Hindes, K., Sleigh, A., Thompson, D.J., Volpe, S.L., Zeveloff, A., Pham, T., Steckler, A. 2013. The effect of a communications campaign on middle school students' nutrition and physical activity: Results of the HEALTHY study. Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives. 18(6):649-667.

Interpretive Summary: The HEALTHY Study was a 3-year school-based intervention designed to change the behaviors of middle school students to reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. This report examines the relation between exposure to communications campaign materials and behavior change among students in the HEALTHY intervention schools. To do this, we used information from logs that tracked communication campaign activities and interviews with students who attended schools enrolled in the HEALTHY Study. The results suggest that greater exposure to the campaign materials is associated with greater change in health behavior. Future interventions of similiar type may use these results to develop communications campaign materials to stimulate greater health behavior change.

Technical Abstract: The HEALTHY Study was a 3-year school-based intervention designed to change the behaviors of middle school students to reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. This report examines the relation between exposure to communications campaign materials and behavior change among students in the HEALTHY intervention schools. Using data from campaign tracking logs and student interviews, the authors examined communications campaign implementation and exposure to the communications campaign as well as health behavior change. Campaign tracking documents revealed variability across schools in the quantity of communications materials disseminated. Student interviews confirmed that there was variability in the proportion of students who reported receiving information from the communication campaign elements. Correlations and regression analysis controlling for semester examined the association between campaign exposure and behavior change across schools. There was a significant association between the proportion of students exposed to the campaign and the proportion of students who made changes in health behavior commensurate with study goals. The results suggest that, in the context of a multifaceted school-based health promotion intervention, schools that achieve a higher rate of exposure to communication campaign materials among the students may stimulate greater health behavior change.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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