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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Does the Kids Cafe Program's nutrition education improve children's dietary intake? A pilot evaluation study

Author
item Dave, Jayna - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Liu, Yan - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Chen, Tzu - University Of Houston
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Cullen, Karen - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/14/2017
Publication Date: 2/1/2018
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5915137
Citation: Dave, J.M., Liu, Y., Chen, T.A., Thompson, D.J., Cullen, K.W. 2018. Does the Kids Cafe Program's nutrition education improve children's dietary intake? A pilot evaluation study. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2017.11.003.

Interpretive Summary: The focus of this article is the Kids Cafe Program's (KCP) nutrition education components and its impact on children's diet quality. Mixed methods design was used for this study to evaluate the 6-session nutrition education program. A total of 120 9-12 year old children (60 intervention and 60 comparison) from four Boys and Girls Club sites participated in the evaluation study with 89% of the participants completing both pre- and post-test evaluations. The trained KCP site staff taught the nutrition education curriculum at the intervention sites. The primary outcome variable was the Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2010), data for which was collected using 24-hour dietary recall data. The secondary outcome variables were BMI percentile and self-efficacy. Repeated measures mixed-effects modeling was used to assess the changes from pre- to post-test. Mean age of children was 10.2 years; mean BMI percentile was ~79; and 95% were from food insecure households. The total HEI-2010 score for both groups at baseline and post-test ranged from 50-60. At post-test, compared to baseline scores, children from both groups scored significantly lower for total vegetables, and greens and beans; intervention group children had significantly higher sodium scores. No significant results were found for either BMI percentile or self-efficacy. Process evaluation indicated that 60-minute lecture based sessions were too long after children were in school all day. This pilot evaluation study suggested the KCP nutrition education curriculum needs improvement. Further research based on behavioral constructs is needed to refine the curriculum to encourage healthier food choices among children.

Technical Abstract: Our objective was to evaluate the Kids Café Program (KCP) nutrition education intervention and assess its impact on children's diet quality and body mass index (BMI) percentile. An experimental design consisting of pretest-posttest comparison groups using mixed methods was used to evaluate the 6-session nutrition education intervention. A total of 120 9- to 12-year-old children in the KCP (60 intervention and 60 comparison) from four Boys and Girls Club sites participated in the study; 89% completed posttest evaluations. Trained KCP site staff taught the nutrition education curriculum at intervention sites. The main outcome measures were the Healthy Eating Index–2010 using 24-hour dietary recall data (primary) and BMI percentile (secondary). Analyses were conducted using repeated-measures mixed-effects modeling. The mean age of children was 10.2 years; mean BMI percentile was about 79; 95% were from food insecure households. The total Healthy Eating Index–2010 score for both groups at baseline and posttest ranged from 50 to 60. At posttest, compared with baseline scores, children from both groups scored significantly lower for total vegetables, and greens and beans; the intervention group children had significantly higher sodium scores. Process evaluation indicated that 60-minute lecture-based sessions were too long after children were in school all day. This pilot study suggests that the KCP nutrition education curriculum needs improvement. Further research based on behavioral constructs is needed to refine the curriculum to encourage healthier food choices among children and using the MyPlate and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.