Pilot Study of Culturally Sensitive Intervention to Promote Healthy Lifestyle in Hispanic Adolescents

Friday, 3 August 2012: 10:55 AM

Bonnie Gance-Cleveland, PhD, RNC, PNP, FAAN
College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Carol Stevens, PhD, RN
College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ

Purpose: Obesity in Hispanic youth has reached alarmingly high levels, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. In Mexican American children ages 6-11 years, 41.7% are overweight and obese, 24.7% are obese and 19.6% have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than the 97th percentile (Ogden et al., 2010). Personal, behavioral, and environmental factors contribute to these high rates. The purpose of the study was to conduct a pilot study of a theory-based healthy eating and activity intervention (Sabor con Salud Latino para los Niños [SSLN]).

Methods:  A pilot, one-group, pre- and post-test, quasi-experimental design used a community-based participatory research (CBPR) method to test a culturally adapted, 8-week intervention. Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) was used to guide the intervention. Measurements included process measures nutrition and physical activity [PA] knowledge, attitude and behaviors, perceived confidence and social support; and outcome variables (BMI z-score, waist circumference and BP percentile). Analysis included paired t-tests and effect sizes.

Results: Seventeen participants aged 11-14 years enrolled in the study. SSLN completers (n=16) attended 88.1% of the sessions. Retention strategies such as texting reminders for class, raffle prizes and phone calls to parents increased attendance and strengthened communication between parents, adolescents and the SSLN Instructors.  Participants reported that the curriculum was fun (M = 4.63, SD = .72) and they learned about nutrition (M = 3.81, SD = 1.42) and PA (M = 4.25, SD = 1.13). The preliminary effects on adolescent nutrition and PA behaviors showed mixed results with small-to-medium effect sizes for nutrition knowledge and attitude, PA and sedentary behavior.

Conclusion: These findings suggest a culturally specific healthy eating and activity program for adolescents was feasible and acceptable and warrants further investigation, since it may fill a gap in existing obesity programs designed for Hispanic youth.