The objectives of this study were to implement, test adherence to and examine the preliminary effectiveness of a summertime weight-gain prevention intervention in youth from a low-income, Rhode Island community. In 2016, 51 children, ages 6-12 years, participated in a daily, summertime intervention, which offered a minimum of two hours of physical activity programming and free lunch through the USDA's Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Thirty children from the same community with similar SFSP access served as a comparison group. Height and weight were measured before and at the end of summer to assess change in body mass index z-score (BMIz). Diet and physical activity were assessed midsummer. Multivariate mixed models were used to test group differences in change in BMIz over the summer and weight-related behaviors midsummer. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to examine the relationships of intervention participation with change in BMIz and weight-related behaviors in intervention participants. On average, intervention participants attended 65.6% of program sessions. They lost 0.04 BMIz units, while those in the comparison group gained 0.03 BMIz units (p = 0.07). Midsummer, intervention participants spent 4.6% less time sedentary on weekdays as compared to comparison participants (p = 0.03). Among intervention participants, attendance was significantly associated with change in BMIz (p = 0.01), spending 41 more minutes in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (p = 0.004) and 8.5% less time sedentary (p < 0.001). Implementing a summertime obesity prevention intervention in a low-income community is feasible. Despite moderate adherence, preliminary findings suggest that participation in the intervention was associated with reductions in BMIz.
Clinical trials registration: ClinicalTrials.govNCT03118635.
Keywords: BMI, Body Mass Index; BMIz, Body Mass Index z-score; Childhood obesity; Diet; GEMS, Girls health Enrichment Multisite Studies; Low-income; MVPA, Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity; NDSR, Nutrition Data Systems for Research; PHAST, Promoting Health and Activity in the Summer Trial; Physical activity; SDH, Structured Day Hypothesis; SFSP, Summer Food Service Program; SPARK AS, Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids - After School; Summer.