A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of Local Community Health Education on Food Intake and Behavior Change

Principal Investigator:  Kim Tippens, ND, MSAOM, MPH

The CDC estimates that 1 of 3 children ages 2-19 in the United States is obese.1 This number continues to grow for adults and children.  In recent years, medical and public health agencies have confronted this epidemic with a broad array of strategies, including the promotion of dietary guidelines, school lunch program reforms, nutrition education, in medical care, technological applications, and public service announcements along with many other tactics to educate the public regarding healthy behaviors to prevent obesity.   Community health interventions are a useful health promotion strategy through which communities are engaged through education to promote behavior change.  This project aims to assess the impact of an ongoing community health education program on participant motivation and changes in behavior related to food choices, preparation, and grocery shopping.

The Ending Childhood Obesity program (ECO) is designed to promote healthy eating habits in Portland area communities.  The program provides nutrition education and cooking demonstrations emphasizing whole foods.  We hypothesize that participation in ECO will result in increased vegetable and whole grain consumption and improve food behaviors in active program participants.  This project will measure behavior change with regard to diet including eating, shopping, and preparing healthy foods, as well as participant motivations and barriers to making these changes.   We will assess this both quantitatively and qualitatively.