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Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness Curriculum Promotes Positive Behaviors in Youth Compared to Control Period

      Objective: To assess the impact of the Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness (CHFFF) youth curriculum on child diet and other targeted behaviors.
      Target Audience: CHFFF was designed for 3rd-6th graders.
      Theory, Prior Research, Rationale: Informed by social cognitive theory, CHFFF focuses on research-based behaviors that decrease child obesity and chronic disease risk. Lesson structure supports the 4-H youth development Experiential Learning Model, ensuring youth interaction and engagement.
      Description: CHFFF's six lessons use experiential learning, food preparation, active games, goal setting, and a family newsletter to teach children to drink fewer sweetened drinks; eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; eat fewer high-fat and high-sugar foods; and play actively 60 minutes a day. CHFFF was developed iteratively by nutrition and youth development experts and front-line educators to fill a void in practical, evidence-based curricula focused on obesity prevention behaviors for this age group.
      Evaluation: CHFFF was evaluated in 3rd-6th grade EFNEP participants during the 2014–2015 school year in 27 after-school and 28 in-school groups taught by six specially-trained educators in five NY counties. Youth completed the self-reported behavior survey three times: twice pre-intervention about 6 weeks apart, and one post-intervention. The survey had moderate-to-good reliability. Dietary intake scores were created based on factor analysis. Results were based on 561 youth who completed all three surveys and participated in at least four of the six lessons. Statistical analyses included linear and logistic mixed models, controlling for both group and educator as random effects. Following CHFFF, youth improved significantly compared to their no-intervention control period in overall diet quality, vegetable intake, fruit intake, soda/fast food intake and choice, and the frequency with which they read nutrition facts labels, shared about healthy eating with their family, and tried a new food.
      Conclusions and Implications: Results provide evidence for the effectiveness of this user-friendly and readily available curriculum, already used in at least 30 states.
      Funding: USDA.

      Supplementary Data

      The following is the supplementary data to this article: