Program

Oct 14, 2011

OVERVIEW

Baylor GEMS: Fun, Food, and Fitness Project (FFFP) is part of the Girls health Enrichment Multi-site Studies (GEMS). Its goal is to prevent obesity among eight-year-old African-American girls by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, water and fiber in diet, and physical activity through a summer camp and subsequent internet intervention. The following experimental evaluation shows that the program did not have an impact on body mass index or physical activity, but it did significantly reduce the total amount of calories, percent calories from fat, and sweetened beverage consumption, as well as increase the number of fruits and vegetables girls consumed.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target Population: female African American children

Baylor GEMS: Fun, Food, and Fitness Project (FFFP) is part of the Girls health Enrichment Multi-site Studies (GEMS). It is based on Social Cognitive Theory and aims to help prevent obesity among eight-year-old African-American girls by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, water and fiber in diet, and physical activity to 60 minutes per day. The program consists of a four-week summer day-camp followed by an eight-week home internet intervention for the participants and their parents. The camp associates fun with 100 percent fruit juice and vegetables (FJV) and increases exposure to these healthy choices. It helps children request these healthy choices from their parents and teaches them simple recipes to make at home. Girls are also taught to set goals, take action when goals are not met, and reward themselves for meeting goals (through friendship beads). The same steps are taken to encourage girls to drink water rather than sweetened beverages. To increase physical activity (PA), a social support buddy-system is utilized. Parents are trained on PA activities to use after camp. Girls are exposed to various PA activities through training and dance, and pedometers are used for self-monitoring. The internet component of the program encourages girls to do PA at home, choose FJV as a snack, increase FJV availability at home, drink water, and maintain a five serving per day FJV diet. The website also includes a weekly comic featuring characters who attend the GEMS summer camp, problem-solving activities related to challenges in the comics, a review of the previous week’s goals, and opportunities to set new goals. The parenting website includes a comic book with a parent character commenting on each frame of the child’s comic in order to model desired parenting behavior, healthy lifestyle parenting polls, a review of goal attainment, new recipes, an “ask the expert” section, and links to other websites of interest to parents of eight-year-old girls.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Baranowski, T., Baranowski, J.C., Cullen, K.W., Thompson, D.I., Nicklas, T., Zakeri, I.F., &Rochon, J. (2003). The Fun, Food, and Fitness Project (FFFP): The Baylor GEMS pilot study. Ethnicity & Disease, 13, SI-30-SI-39.

Evaluated population: In total, 35 eight-year old African-American girls were evaluated. All participants had a parent willing to be involved, were in the 50th percentile or greater for age and gender specific body mass index (BMI), and had a home computer with internet access. The day-camp occurred in conjunction with Kid Venture Camps of Houston.

Approach: Participants were recruited through radio advertisements, a GEMS-FFFP website, fliers, church presentations, and postcards sent to girls from selected Houston area schools. Randomization to treatment or control groups was done through an urn randomization procedure, through contact to the Coordinating Center at George Washington University. The intervention group attended a four-week summer camp followed by an eight-week home internet intervention. The control group attended a usual four-week summer camp followed by a monthly home internet intervention that did not include the FFFP components. Baseline assessments occurred between March and May 2001, camp occurred in June, the internet program occurred in July and August, and the 12-week follow-up assessments began in September. Measured outcomes included height, weight, waist circumference, diet, and PA.

Results: There were no significant differences between groups in BMI, waist circumference, FJV servings, PA preference, sweetened beverage and water servings, or sweetened beverage preference at the end of summer camp. BMI in treatment group was marginally significantly lower compared BMI in the control group.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Baranowski, T., Baranowski, J.C., Cullen, K.W., Thompson, D.I., Nicklas, T., Zakeri, I.F., &Rochon, J. (2003). The Fun, Food, and Fitness Project (FFFP): The Baylor GEMS pilot study. Ethnicity & Disease, 13, SI-30-SI-39.

KEYWORDS: Children (3-11), Female Only, black/African American, Community-Based, Health Status/Conditions, Nutrition, Obesity

Program information last updated on 10/14/11.

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