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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: A community-based healthy living promotion program improved self-esteem among minority children

Author
item Wong, William - CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (CNRC)
item Ortiz, Christina - HOUSTON PARKS & RECREATION
item Stuff, Janice - CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (CNRC)
item Mikhail, Carmen - BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
item Lathan, Debra - HOUSTON PARKS & RECREATION
item Moore, Louis - HOUSTON PARKS & RECREATION
item Alejandro, Mercedes - CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (CNRC)
item Butte, Nancy - CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (CNRC)
item Smith, Elliot - CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (CNRC)

Submitted to: Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/17/2015
Publication Date: 7/1/2016
Citation: Wong, W.W., Ortiz, C.L., Stuff, J.E., Mikhail, C., Lathan, D., Moore, L.A., Alejandro, M.E., Butte, N.F., Smith, E.O. 2016. A community-based healthy living promotion program improved self-esteem among minority children. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 63(1):106-112.

Interpretive Summary: Excessive body weight is linked to higher risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high blood lipids, and low confidence. Black and Hispanic children are known to have high rates of excessive body weight. Children with excessive body weight are known to have low confidence. To prevent excessive body weight, children are encouraged to spend at least 60 minutes each day on moderate and vigorous physical activities such as jogging, running, and jumping ropes. The study tested an after-school, healthy living promotion program, Healthy Kids-Houston, on body weight, eating habits, confidence, and physical activity among black and Hispanic children. The program was carried out at community centers in low-income neighborhoods near public schools. The program offered three 6-week lessons. Each week, children took two 2-hour lessons. Each 2-hour lesson included 90 minutes of fun, supervised physical activities and 30 minutes of eating and healthy habit lessons. The results collected from 524 children who took part in the Healthy Kids-Houston lessons at 14 community centers were compared with the results from 353 children at 10 community centers who did not receive the lessons. At the end of the first 6-week lesson, higher confidence was found among the children who received the healthy living promotion program and higher confidence remained at the end of the third 6-week lesson. The program led to no changes in body weight and eating habits. The study showed that minority children spent only 5% of their day time on moderate and vigorous physical activities thus not meeting the national recommendation. With higher confidence, it is possible that similar programs with longer duration might lead to more health benefits.

Technical Abstract: 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. 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. 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/=0.21). 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.