Using the Child as Change Agent for Preventing Childhood Obesity in Rural Georgia: Home Environment Results

      Objective: The objective of this study was to determine if the Action Pack Families child as change agent intervention resulted in changes in the home food and physical activity environment of children over the course of a 3-year intervention.
      Description: This study was a group-randomized intervention that included all 10 elementary schools in a county in rural Georgia. Action Pack Families was a child as change agent nutrition and physical activity intervention with school, home, and community based components. The intervention was delivered by trained family nutrition educators in partnership with University of Georgia Extension. The school curriculum was designed to be physically active and experiential. Students were taught strategies for sharing what they learned with their families. In addition to the school-to-home activities that engaged families in intervention activities at home, the family component of the intervention included community events, family fun nights, and communication via Facebook. Community recognition and support of the program was enhanced by participation in local events.
      Evaluation: Child height and weight were collected at school by the research team; diet, physical activity, and home environment factors were self-reported by parents using a paper-pencil survey. Anthropometric data were collected at the beginning and end of each school year from 3rd through 5th grade. Parent survey data were collected at the beginning of each school year as well as at the end of 5th grade.
      Conclusions and Implications: Previous cross-sectional analyses of baseline data from this study suggested that the home environment does not necessarily influence the dietary behavior of children in the same way across all racial/ethnic groups. An analysis of intervention effects on home environment, dietary, and activity variables showed that the intervention impacted key variables for positive changes in the home environment with the effect varying across racial/ethnic groups. Using children as change agents might be effective in altering some home environment variables that could aid in preventing childhood obesity.
      Funding: 2012-68001-19625.

      Supplementary Data

      The following is the supplementary data to this article: