Program ENERGY: Successful Dissemination to an Isolated High-Risk Rural Location [in] Cortez, CO

Published:2007, Appetite
Authors:Porter D, Smith F
Type:Project Generated
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Program ENERGY is a science/health-inquiry learning enrichment classroom program (body science, health, nutrition) designed to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. Effectiveness of Program ENERGY-Cortez (PE-C) for 2nd & 3rd graders and their parents in a rural, low-income (54% free or reduced school lunch), high Native American and Hispanic population in Southwestern CO was determined. The principals and classroom educators approved the program after reviewing its objectives and methods. PE-C was delivered by an experienced graduate student and volunteers recruited from the community. Volunteers included both high school and nursing students. In kind donations were provided by several small local businesses, providing materials for teaching aids, rewards and snacks. The intervention school students received the Program ENERGY curriculum including 16 bi-weekly classroom lessons (topic introduction, a hands-on inquiry science activity, and a healthy snack). A comparison school did not receive the program. Effectiveness was evaluated by pre/post assessments (beginning and end of school year). Results of pre- and post- tests show statistically significant improvements in the intervention school compared to the comparison school: health and science knowledge, attitudes (e.g. healthy food selection), behaviors (increased body acceptance), and increased interest in science/health-related careers. These improvements were similar to those observed in the initial implementation in Fort Collins, CO. PE-C is an effective elementary school/family-based intervention with high rates of enrollment/retention, positive evaluations by children/educators that produced significant positive outcomes in health/science knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and increased interest in science and health-related careers.