A Comparison of BMI Percentiles and Predictor Variables for Two Head Start Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs




Goldberg, Patricia

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A Head Start program enhancement, "I am Moving, I am Learning" (IMIL), is intended to 1) increase the amount of time per day that children participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA); 2) improve the quality of structured movement activities that are led by teachers and other adults; and 3) promote and model healthy food choices for children. A quantitative study was conducted to determine if IMIL was effective in maintaining a healthy BMI in 354 four-year-old preschool children. Head Start secondary data were used to analyze and compare two groups of children: one group received the IMIL intervention; the control group received a standard Head Start nutrition program. T-tests, regression, and Chi-square analysis were conducted to compare improvement of BMI scores from baseline for the two groups. Results indicated that there was no significant improvement in BMI scores between (t= -25, df= 109.88, p= .81) and within the two groups of preschool children (IMIL group: t= -1.61, df= 257, p= .11; Control: t= -.70, df= 95, p= .49). Although there were several significant correlations between some of the variables, regression analysis for program variables indicated that the overall model did not significantly predict for BMI percentile change scores (R2 = .001, R2 adj. = -.007, F(3, 350) = .17, p = .91). Chi-square analysis for demographic variables indicated that only race/ethnicity had a significant relationship with BMI percentile scores (X2 = .011). Future studies of the IMIL obesity intervention should be conducted using a larger sample size composed of several Head Start regions in the U.S.



Childhood, Obesity, Intervention, Overweight, Head Start, Preschool