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12-10-2016 | Original Paper | Uitgave 2/2017

Journal of Child and Family Studies 2/2017

Increasing Positive Health Behaviors in Adolescents with Nutritional Goals and Exercise

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 2/2017
Auteurs:
Jaclyn Heller Issner, Lilia E. Mucka, Douglas Barnett

Abstract

Research has documented that low-income urban youth are at risk for obesity and related health problems. Our goal was to develop a brief, developmentally informed intervention to increase positive health behaviors (e.g., diet and exercise) among low-income, minority adolescents. Our study was designed to examine the feasibility and potential impact of our single session intervention that was delivered in a primary care setting. The participants were 100 adolescents from an urban adolescent medicine clinic who were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: a) a 3–5 min goal-only session or b) a 15–20 min motivationally enhanced intervention. Health behaviors and individual characteristics (i.e., autonomous motivation, self-efficacy) were assessed at baseline and re-assessed at follow-up 1 month later with 53 % of the youth completing the follow-up assessment. Those in the enhanced intervention group were more likely to participate in the follow-up as were those who reported higher baseline motivation and self-efficacy. Both groups reported statistically significant health behavior improvements over time and older adolescents reported more improvements. The two conditions did not significantly differ in reported health improvements. Self-efficacy predicted improvements in self-reported fruit and vegetable intake at follow-up. Results support that a brief “chat” with adolescents about their personal goals and values appears to have the potential to increase their positive health behaviors and appears to be useful as a preparatory intervention for weight management efforts for urban teens. The study demonstrates the feasibility and potential efficacy of implementing this 20 min intervention into primary care settings, thereby helping urban youth focus on their individualized goals, values, and motivations for health.

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