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Title:Prevention of Overweight in Children Enrolled in the Head Start Program Through Nutrition Education Directed at Teachers and Parents
Author(s):Adedze, Pascasie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Nakamura, Manabu T.
Department / Program:Nutritional Sciences
Discipline:Nutritional Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Health
Abstract:The purpose of this dissertation is to evaluate "Healthy Moves for Healthy Children (HMHC)" project and to develop nutrition education program for parents of children enrolled in Head Start school. The HMHC curriculum was adapted from Iowa State Extension "Pick a Better Snack" program. In 2005, Head Start teachers received HMHC in-service training and were provided with a set of cards, with thematic suggestions for healthy snacks, physical activities and children's books, to implement throughout the year. Pretest and posttest after the training showed significant knowledge results on timing of snacks for children (p<.05). Similar results were measured on knowledge of serving size of milk for a 4-year-old (p<.05). One year later, a qualitative study was conducted to assess the benefits of the HMHC program and suggestions for improvement. Two focus groups were conducted with Head Start teachers (n=14) in Decatur, IL, by an experienced moderator using predetermined questions. Responses were audiotaped, transcribed and key themes identified. Results showed that teachers perceived the curriculum as an important source of new ideas, convenient and easy to use. Specific benefits included linking healthy snacks with activities, and having the cards bound together. Suggestions for improvement included larger format cards, more frequent hands-on training, and providing more low-cost snacks options that do not require cooking. Teachers also requested HMHC resources for educating parents. Therefore, qualitative study was conducted among Head Start parents. Two focus groups with Head Start parents (n=14) were conducted in Decatur, IL using predetermined questions. Findings showed that parents were knowledgeable about causes of childhood overweight and understood that eating habits are learned early from adult role models. Parents identified "healthy eating" as consuming more fruits and vegetables. Barriers identified were expenses of fresh foods and lack of time. Parents preferred visual education materials rather than written materials, thus, DVD nutrition education program was developed. Head Start parents (n=16) watched the DVD and were given pretest and posttest questionnaires. Parents were inspired by the DVD to make changes in some areas such as spending time with their children, increasing fruit and vegetables intake, and being physically active with their children. However, 4-6 week follow-up data could not show changes possibly due to the sample size (n=11). In addition, one time intervention is likely not sufficient to change more than one behavioral aspect. Therefore, future recommendations include implementation at large scale to increase the sample size and assess the impact of the program.
Issue Date:2009
Description:144 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3362714
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2009

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