School-Based Life Skills Program to Reduce Psychosocial Barriers to Achieving Child Nutrition and Obesity Prevention
American Journal of Applied Psychology
Volume 9, Issue 5, September 2020, Pages: 131-139
Received: Aug. 24, 2020;
Accepted: Sep. 9, 2020;
Published: Sep. 21, 2020
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Martha Givaudan, Mexican Institute of Family and Population Research (IMIFAP), Mexico City, Mexico
Marco Barriga, Mexican Institute of Family and Population Research (IMIFAP), Mexico City, Mexico
Georgina García, Mexican Institute of Family and Population Research (IMIFAP), Mexico City, Mexico
Itzel Valdez, Mexican Institute of Family and Population Research (IMIFAP), Mexico City, Mexico
Cory Silver, Mexican Institute of Family and Population Research (IMIFAP), Mexico City, Mexico
Childhood obesity is a critical and growing public health crisis across the world, with implications ranging from the development of noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, which has been especially revelant in recent months due to the associated risk with COVID-19 recovery, to psychosocial consequences such as low self-esteem. Habits pertaining to diet and exercise may affect a child’s risk of becoming obese, with consumption of processed foods or a lack of physical exercise as risk factors. The objective of this study was to implement a school-based progam in two cities in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, with the goal of preventing the development of childhood obesity through building life skills, gaining knowledge, and reducing psychosocial barriers to adopting a healthier lifestyle. Teachers were trained in workshops which prepared them to facilitate life skills, reduce psychosocial barriers and disseminate information through interactive activities with their fourth and fifth grade students, as well as engage in conferences with parents to review similar content regarding healthy practices. Results showed a statistically significant increase in the teacher’s role as a health promoter in the classroom, compared with a no treatment group (F1,74=4,302, p=0.042, η2=0.57), an increase in knowledge about diabetes and health care, as well as increased capability in taking care of their own diet (F1,74=6.103, p=0.006, η2=0.937). Students’ results in the treatment group showed a significant effect in knowledge about the healthy portion size of various types of food including the importance of daily consumption of vegetables (F1,1596=4.033, p=0.045), a significant decrease in consumption of junk food and sodas (F1, 1593=7.074, p=0.008), and a significant decrease in drinking soda (F1,1593=6.618, p=0.010), compared with a no treatment group. Parents increased their knowledge of maintaining healthy eating habits and the importance of exercise as well as their self confidence to promote healthy habits in the family. These results demonstrate the success of the implementation of this comprehensive model based on life skills and intrinsic empowerment in encouraging behaviors as well as emotional and physical habits that reduce risk of childhood obesity, although long-term tracking of indicators such as body mass index (BMI) are needed to determine the efficacy of the program over an extended period of time.
School-Based Life Skills Program to Reduce Psychosocial Barriers to Achieving Child Nutrition and Obesity Prevention, American Journal of Applied Psychology.
Vol. 9, No. 5,
2020, pp. 131-139.
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