Abstract P257: Efficacy of Teen Battle Chef Program to Shift the Academic Performance and Health Behaviors in NYC High School Students
Introduction: Adolescent obesity is one of the leading public health concerns in the United States. Children who are overweight as adolescents are much more likely to become obese adults. Providing nutrition education is a powerful resource for dietary behavioral change among adolescents and children. Teen Battle Chef (TBC), a component of the HealthCorps Living Labs program, uses culinary and nutrition education to promote behavioral change by empowering youth on multiple levels. This study examines impact of the TBC component of HealthCorps on NYC high school students’ food behaviors, leadership skills, attendance and academic performance.
Hypothesis: That participation in Teen Battle Chef will increase attendance, academic and food behavior indicators Methods: We examined several food behaviors, leadership traits, attendance and academic performance of TBC students in the 14 NYC HealthCorps high schools. The TBC curriculum was implemented all 14 schools and a total of 176 students participated in the intervention and 40 students in the comparison group. Pre and Post surveys were conducted. Students from both interventional and comparison groups completed the same survey. Additionally, school performance data in a subset of students from the previous school year in the same schools were examined to determine whether participation affected school performance. Academic data (2012-13) from a total of 88 TBC from 2012-13 were compared to the entire school population. These included attendance, SAT scores, and graduation.
Results: The TBC intervention group had significantly greater improvements in key food behavior indicators. Students reported an increased “energy level” [t=+2.90; p<0.01]; more likely to consume fruit [t=-2.17; p<0.05], carrots [t=-2.56; p<0.05], and less likely to drink soda [t=2.30; p<0.05]. The TBC group significantly increased their overall dietary quality (0.114; p=0.03) compared with the control group (0.006; p=0.90). An indication of leadership development, participants had significantly greater improvement in discussing the value of local foods with others (t=-3.31; p<0.01). Compared with previous year’s cohort, the mean SAT scores for TBC participants were significantly higher than overall school scores. Additionally, TBC participants attendance rate was 95%, compared to the school attendance rate of 86%.
Conclusion: This study provides strong evidence that TBC helps develop leadership, teamwork, culinary skills, nutrition knowledge, food systems and self-efficacy for high school students. In addition, our study explicitly shows that TBC students improve their academic performance and attendance and are motivated to succeed in school as a result of their participation in the TBC/HealthCorps programs.
Author Disclosures: H. Park: None. L. Fredericks: None. N.M. Sliva: None. J. Wang: None. E.D. Irvin: None. J. Wylie-Rosett: None. S.G. Hayes: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.