Program

Apr 10, 2010

OVERVIEW

Hip-Hop to Health
Jr. is a program which aims to promote healthy eating and exercise habits in
children ages 3-5 years. The program consists of a classroom discussion,
physical activity period, and parent newsletter. An experimental
evaluation of the program, in which Head Start programs were randomized, found
that it was effective in preventing children from large increases in Body Mass
Index (BMI), a measure of body fat relative to overall body size. The
program had a limited impact on children’s dietary
habits.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Minority (Black and
Latino) children ages 3-5 years

The Hip-Hop to Health Jr. curriculum
was developed for low-income minority pre-school children. The
intervention is designed to be effective for both
overweight children and children who are at-risk for becoming obese. The
program occurs 3 times a week in 45-minute sessions for a total of 14
weeks. In each class, children first learn about a healthy eating habit
or exercise activity for about 20 minutes. Then, children participate in
an intense physical activity session for about 20 minutes. This activity
session involves games, songs, and dancing. Each child’s
parent also receives a weekly newsletter which contains information on what
children are learning in their sessions, homework activities they can do with
their child, and coupons for healthy food
options. Two aerobics classes are offered each week to program parents.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Fitzgibbon, M. L., Stolley,
M. R., Schiffer, L, Van Horn, L., Kauferchristoffel,
K., & Dyer, A. (2005).
Two-year follow-up results for
Hip-Hop to Health Jr.: A randomized controlled trial for overweight prevention
in preschool minority children. The Journal of Pediatrics, 146(5),
618-625.

Evaluated population: A total of 778 children ages
3-5 recruited from 24 Head Start programs in Chicago. The children had a mean age of
slightly over 50 months and were roughly half male and half female. 53%
of the children were Black and 47% were Latino.

Approach:Randomization was done at the Head Start
site level; 12 sites were assigned to the Hip-Hop for Health Jr. intervention program and 12 sites were assigned to a General
Health Intervention (GHI) control condition. These sites, 12 of which
were primarily black and 12 of which were primarily Latino were staggered so
that the program would start in the Black schools during the first year and
would start in the Latino schools the second year.

The intervention consisted of three 45-minute class sessions
each week for a total of 14 weeks. Classroom sessions were divided into
instructional activities and 20 minutes of intensive exercise. In
addition, parents were sent a weekly newsletter which had health information
for parents, homework assignments for families, and coupons. Parents also
have the option of participating in twice-weekly aerobics classes. The
general health control condition consisted of weekly 20-minute classes for 14
weeks. In these classes, children learned about topics such as dental
health, visits to the doctor’s office, and getting
health in an emergency. Parents in this condition also received a weekly
newsletter which contained information about topics that the children were
learning about in class. The general health control condition did not
contain any information about dietary health. Data were collected on
measures of body weight and height, Body Mass Index (BMI), parent-reported diet
recall, physical activity levels of children, and children’s
knowledge of healthy eating and exercise habits.

Results: Results for this study are based on the
black schools which were the first to receive the program. At
post-intervention, the program had no impacts on the BMI scores for the
children. At first-year follow-up, children in the intervention condition
had smaller increases in BMI than children in the control condition meaning
that they had gained less weight based on their body type. Impacts were
comparable for subgroups. Also, children in the intervention condition
had smaller increases in BMI at year two than children in the control
group.

The intervention program did not have any impacts at either
follow-up period on total fat intake, dietary fiber intake, exercise frequency
and intensity, or the amount of daily TV watching. At the year one
follow-up, children in the intervention condition had a lower saturated fat
intake than children in the control condition. This program impact was
not observed directly after the program’s conclusion
or at the two-year follow-up period.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Fitzgibbon, M. L., Stolley,
M. R., Dyer, A. R., VanHorn, L., & Kauferchristoffel, K. (2002). A
community-based obesity prevention program for minority children: rationale and
study design for Hip-Hop to Health Jr. Preventative Medicine, 34,
289-297.

Fitzgibbon, M. L., Stolley,
M. R., Schiffer, L, Van Horn, L., Kauferchristoffel,
K., & Dyer, A. (2005). Two-year follow-up results for Hip-Hop
to Health Jr.: A randomized controlled trial for overweight prevention in
preschool minority children. The Journal of Pediatrics, 146(5),
618-625.

Stolley, M. R., Fitzgibbon, M. L., Dyer, A., Van Horn, L., Kauferchristoffel, K., & Schiffer,
L. (2003). Hip-Hop to Health Jr., an obesity prevention program
for minority preschool children: Baseline characteristics of
participants. Preventative Medicine, 36, 320-329.

KEYWORDS: Early Childhood (0-5), Children (3-11), Black or
African American, Hispanic or Latino, Urban, Preschool, School-based, Child
Care, Early Childhood Education, High-Risk, Physical Health, Overweight, Obese,
Nutrition

Program information last updated on 4/13/10