A Summer Obesity Prevention Program for Hispanic Kids and Families through Vacation Bible School: A Pilot Study

Objective: Building a Healthy Temple (BHT) Vacation Bible School (VBS) Program aimed to promote healthy lifestyle for children and their families through integration of spiritual and physical health. The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of BHT VBS on healthy behaviors.
Methods: The BHT VBS is a week long, multipronged intervention including health-oriented scripture readings, hands-on healthy eating and physical activities as well as parental health education. Using Train-the-Trainer model, the program was implemented in three predominantly Hispanic churches in San Antonio, Texas in 2016. A pre- and post- one-group design was used to evaluate intervention effect through self-administered questionnaires at baseline and one -week post-intervention. Outcome measures included children’s awareness of faith-health connection, self-efficacy on healthy eating, food preference, eating patterns and physical activity (PA) level. Parental knowledge and attitude toward healthy living, as well as eating and PA patterns were measured. Paired t-test was performed to compare pre and post changes in intervention outcomes.
Results: Among the 315 children and families took part in the BHT VBS, 114 children and 60 parents consented to data collection, Fifty-three children and 25 parents completing both baseline and endpoint questionnaires. Children significantly increased: awareness scores of the faith-health connection; self-efficacy scores on drinking water and eating whole grains; preference on fruits and whole grains; eating pattern scores for fruits and vegetables (FV), and whole grains; and consumption of fruits and water. Parents significantly increased nutrition knowledge scores, increased FV eating pattern scores and FV intake, and reduced sugary drink consumption. Both children and parents significantly increased weekly PA level and decreased daily screen time.
Conclusion: Although brief, the BHT VBS resulted in favorable changes in awareness, attitude, preference, selfefficacy, eating and physical activity patterns toward a healthier lifestyle in both children and parents in Hispanic faith communities.


Wilmoth S, Pan M, Correa L, Martinez E, Mendoza R, Sosa E, Yin Z and He M

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