The proportion of obese adolescents in Southern Appalachia is among the highest in the nation. Through funding from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities — National Institutes of Health, the Team Up for Healthy Living project was a cluster-randomized trial targeting obesity prevention in adolescents through a cross-peer intervention. The specific aims of the project were to: 1) develop a peer-based health education program focusing on establishing positive peer norms towards healthy eating and physical activity (PA) among high school students, 2) test program efficacy, and 3) explore mechanisms underlying the program. The study was guided by the Theory of Planned Behavior, which presupposes that human behavior is primarily driven by attitude, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and social support. To deliver the intervention, undergraduate students from the disciplines of public health, nutrition, and kinesiology were hired as peer facilitators. Ten area high schools were invited to participate, were matched on demographics and then randomized to intervention or control. The primary outcomes of the study included body mass status, dietary behaviors, PA, and sedentary behaviors which were assessed at baseline and at three and twelve months post baseline. Intervention schools received Team Up for Healthy Living curriculum, which consists of eight 40-minute sessions. The curriculum focused on improving nutrition awareness, PA, leadership and communication. Control schools received their regularly scheduled Lifetime Wellness curriculum. The long-term goal of the study was to establish an effective academia–community partnership program to address adolescent obesity disparity in Southern Appalachia.
Slawson, Deborah; Dalton, William T.; Dula, Taylor McKeehan; Southerland, Jodi; Wang, Liang; Littleton, Mary Ann; Mozen, Diana; Relyea, George; Schetzina, Karen; Lowe, Elizabeth F.; Stoots, James M.; and Wu, Tiejian. 2015. College Students as Facilitators in Reducing Adolescent Obesity Disparity in Southern Appalachia: Team up for Healthy Living. Contemporary Clinical Trials. Vol.43 39-52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2015.04.012 ISSN: 1551-7144