Objective: To summarize fifth year findings and outcomes of an obesity prevention project.
Description: This 4-H STEM afterschool and wrap around program was conducted in five cities in three counties of Connecticut. In the fifth year, three intervention sites in two cities were analyzed. Teen mentors, aged 16 to 19 years, along with 4-H adult leaders, taught third and fourth graders about nutrition, fitness and gardening. Activities included hands-on nutrition lessons, constructing and building garden beds on school sites, indoor garden grow labs, garden planting/maintaining/harvesting, healthy food demonstrations, fitness games, zumba, circuit games or interactive Wii games.
Evaluation: The fifth year evaluation consisted of a mixed methodology approach with pre and post surveys, qualitative interviews, and physical measures.
Conclusions and Implications: In the fifth year, community interactions were as follows: 20 garden beds installed, 12 family fitness nights, 31 after school sessions, 17 summer events, and five farmers market events. The study findings show youth had improvements in 20 meter PACER scores, hand-grip strength, push-ups, and sit-and-reach, as well as enhanced self-efficacy relative to social capital (an unintended result). Interview findings indicate children enjoyed the program, being outside and learned new things related to nutrition. Consequently, 4-H programs led by teen mentors with a focus on nutrition, fitness, and gardening may have positive influences on youth.
The following is the supplementary data to this article: