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P72 Comparison of EFNEP Educators’ and Low-Income High School Teens’ Opinions of a Game-Based Nutrition and Physical Activity Curriculum

      Background

      The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) has provided limited education to teens. Thus, differences between educators’ and teens’ perceptions of lessons taught, particularly when a gamification approach is used, are not available.

      Objective

      To compare EFNEP educators’ and low-income, urban teens’ impressions of a classroom-based, nutrition and physical activity (PA) curriculum that utilized a gamification approach.

      Study Design, Settings, Participants

      The intervention, a 10-week EFNEP curriculum taught between 2018-2020, and interviews took place at Brimm High School in Camden, NJ. This was a comparative study inquiring the opinions of EFNEP educators’ and 9th-grade teen participants’ perceptions of the lessons taught. Researchers conducted semi-structured, 1-on-1, face-to-face interviews with the educators and teens (who attended over 80% of the lessons).

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Two independent coders performed a thematic analysis of interview transcripts. Findings were discussed until both researchers reached a consensus.

      Results

      A high level of agreement was evidenced between the teens’ (n = 25) and EFNEP educators’ (n = 9) that gamified lessons prompted greater participation and engagement than other types of lessons. Educators presumed that 2 videos (a walk-indoors DVD featuring an adult cast and a sustainability video encouraging reduced red meat consumption and increased plant-based foods consumption) and a food safety lesson based on a cookout, would not be relatable to teens. However, the teens reported favorable knowledge and/or intention to change regarding their PA (75%) vegetable intake (40%), and food safety practices (>33%). The curriculum resulted in positive overall impacts regarding the teens’ PA (through the use of dance as PA), improved fast food choices, decreased intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, and improved snack choices.

      Conclusion

      Educators and teens valued gamified lessons as an effective educational approach for working with this age group; yet with regards to some lesson contents, educators appeared to be far more sensitive to potential issues than did the teens.
      Funding NJ EFNEP.

      Appendix. Supplementary data