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Promoting Active Living and Healthy Eating among Inner-City Youth through Community Health Workers: From Clinic to Neighborhood

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DOI: 10.4236/health.2014.617269    1,969 Downloads   2,397 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

The promotion of physical activity and healthy eating to prevent obesity among youth is a pressing challenge. The current study examined the feasibility of community health workers (CHWs) conducting a physical activity (PA) and healthy eating intervention strategy with links to community supports and programs. Youth aged 10 - 18 years were recruited from three clinical sites serving inner-city families. Trained CHWs conducted assessment and counseling for PA and healthy eating among youth and their families and provided customized plans and navigation to neighborhood PA and nutrition programs. Measures of daily PA by self-report, weekday and weekend day sedentary behaviors, fruit and vegetable intake, avoidance of fatty foods, and avoidance of sugary drinks were assessed at baseline and follow-up. Twenty-five patients (mean age = 12.9 years) were exposed to ~9 months of intervention from baseline. Pre- and post-assessments revealed significant changes in reported PA, sedentary behaviors on weekdays, sedentary behaviors on weekend days, fruit and vegetable intake, avoidance of fatty foods, and avoidance of sugary drinks. Results demonstrated the feasibility of having CHWs effectively influenced the PA and eating behaviors of inner-city youth. Greater success was evident when assessment and counseling for PA and healthy eating were accompanied by navigation to neighborhood resources. The use of CHWs may be a cost-effective approach impacting the PA, sedentary, and dietary behaviors of youth.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Subtirelu, M. , Rincon-Subtirelu, M. , Pickett, M. and Heath, G. (2014) Promoting Active Living and Healthy Eating among Inner-City Youth through Community Health Workers: From Clinic to Neighborhood. Health, 6, 2342-2348. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.617269.

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