Children who eat unhealthy diets and engage in limited physical activity are susceptible to adverse health effects, such as obesity. This pilot intervention study examined the immediate impact of a health education program, Get Charmed, which used a short-run incentive program as a strategy for motivating rural elementary school students to learn about physical activity and healthy eating behaviors. We assessed kindergarten through fifth grade students’ knowledge of physical activity, healthy eating, and water consumption, at baseline and immediately following the intervention. Get Charmed is a six-week program geared toward elementary-aged children, with aims to increase participants’ knowledge and awareness around healthier lifestyle behaviors. A pre-post evaluation assessed knowledge about healthy eating, physical activity, and hydration among elementary school-aged children (n = 22) enrolled in grades k-5. Frequencies were calculated for the number of correct responses for each item. A series of Wilcoxon signed rank tests were performed to assess changes in knowledge from baseline to post-test. Average knowledge scores for the 3rd-5th grade students increased from 15.56 (± 1.88) to 16.78 (± 1.20), which was statistically significant (z = -2.41, p = 0.016). Average baseline knowledge for the kindergarten to 2nd grade students increased from 9.54 (± 1.66) to 10.46 (± 0.66). For the kindergarten to 2nd grade students, a statistically significant proportion of participants (six out of 13 participants) increased knowledge (z = -1.98, p = 0.048). Implementing Get Charmed with short-run incentives in rural school-based settings is a practical and economical approach to introducing new foods while increasing rural elementary students’ knowledge in the areas of physical activity, nutrition, and hydration.
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Jones, Shaakira A.; Danze, Gillian; Price, Anna; Merianos, Ashley L.; and Smith, Matthew L.
"School-Based Nutrition and Physical Activity Program for Rural Elementary School Students: A Pilot Study,"
Health Behavior Research: