Childhood obesity is a public health epidemic that has been increasing at alarming rates in the United States. Approximately one-third of children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese or overweight. Childhood obesity disproportionately affects children of ethnic minorities and low-income populations.
Boys & Girls Club of Rochester (BGCR), Minnesota serves over 1,600 children each year. Close to two-thirds are from racial/ethnic minority groups, and a majority live in low-income homes. BGCR offers youth development programs and services in several core areas including Health and Life Skills, which focus on physical activity and nutrition.
Club Fit is an initiative aimed at preventing obesity among BGCR members. There are multiple phases to this project. The first, or formative phase, has been completed. The aim of the formative phase was to review existing physical activity and nutrition programming, and define opportunities to enhance these programs at BGCR. During this phase, researchers conducted focus groups, surveys, and physical measures to assess perceived barriers, facilitators, and opportunities for improvement to sustaining healthful physical activity and nutrition behaviors among BGCR members.
Results derived from the formative phase were used to guide the development of a physical activity and nutrition intervention, to be administered as part of regular programming at BGCR. The current phase entails BGCR staff administering the intervention, while researchers conduct pre-post assessments among Club members, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. Assessments demonstrated an improvement in psychosocial constructs associated with positive behavior change. It also showed a dose-response relationship between participation in Club Fit activities and healthier body mass index.
Mayo Clinic: Office of Health Disparities Research, and Center for Clinical and Translational Science