The Own Your Own Health (OYOH) program evaluation explores the influence of annual on-line fitness challenges on adoption and maintenance of healthier eating and physical activity behaviors among Louisiana's adult participants.
Use of Theory or Research
Team and individual challenges to motivate behavioral change through social support and approval is grounded in Social Cognitive Theory. Tracking progress and sharing experiences with other OYOH participants to affect attitude and intention to maintain healthy behaviors is predicted by the Theory of Planned Behavior.
OYOH is open to anyone, but highly promoted within Louisiana's minority communities. The evaluation targets adult, first-time OYOH annual challenge registrants, who reside in state and agree to participate.
OYOH is an on-line health promotion program of Louisiana's Bureau of Minority Health Access. It uses community-based recruitment techniques in underserved areas to engage participants in game-like fitness challenges, nutrition/fitness/health messages, and communication of strategies and successes to encourage healthy lifestyle choices.
Two online surveys were developed and implemented annually for three-years (2016-2018). A baseline survey was linked to initial program registration; a six-month follow-up survey was linked to participation in the baseline survey. Healthy eating indicators included vegetable, fruit, whole grain, sodium, and fat consumption. Physical activity indicators included time spent being active/inactive. Demographics were collected; data was self-reported.
Minority populations comprised ∼50% of survey participants. At follow-up, participants appeared to have increased (as percent change), consumption of fruits, green and orange vegetables, and whole grains; reduced or become watchful of fats and/or sodium; increased time being physically active. Size differences in baseline (n = 598) and follow-up (n = 128) survey groups precluded t-test significance. Still, ∼85% of participants maintained some physical activity six-months post-challenge; ∼90% would participate in multiple challenges each year.
The OYOH program appears to be reaching Louisiana's minority communities and influencing eating and physical activity behaviors. However, increased participation in follow-up assessments is needed to more rigorously evaluate program efficacy and inform future applications.