Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Alison Tovar

Abstract

There are clear disparities in the prevalence of childhood obesity with low-income, minority populations being at the highest risk The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) educates low-income populations primarily on improving their diet. Including other target behaviors such as physical activity, screen time and child feeding practices may be beneficial to help curb the obesity epidemic. In Rhode Island (RI), a qualitative study found that parents who had previously participated in EFNEP wanted to learn about these topics. Three additional EFNEP modules were developed covering these areas. The purpose of this study was to conduct a process evaluation of these modules. Five RI-EFNEP classes taught by paraprofessionals to parents of children ages 2-12 years (n=42) participated in this study. The process evaluation assessed fidelity, lesson observations, and participant feedback (surveys and focus groups). Analysis included frequencies and content analysis. Fidelity for all components of the modified curriculum was high (75-100%) except for goal setting, which occurred only 58.8% of the time. Observations show participants were attentive and open to discussion in 90-100% of the lessons. Participant feedback was positive for the new lessons and hands-on activities. However, participants expressed wanting more age specific information related to feeding together with hands-on activities, and information related to how food advertisements tailor to parents and children. Overall, the curriculum was successful and will be revised to modify goal setting and include more age appropriate information as well as focus on the effects of advertising. Future studies can benefit from participant feedback to improve interventions that target obesity-related health behaviors in low-income families.

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