Youth WAVE Screener: Addressing Weight-Related Behaviors With School-Age Children

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Abstract

Purpose

This study evaluated the feasibility of using the youth Weight, Activity, Variety, and Excess (WAVE) screener in a classroom setting for assessing student weight control intentions and the extent to which they used the WAVE strategies to control their weight.

Methods

The Youth WAVE Screener was administered to fifth-grade students in an inner-city school located in the Bronx, New York. The study was conducted in part to increase student awareness of snack foods and sugary beverages in relation to weight.

Results

Of the 169 students who completed the survey, 45.5% (n = 77) were trying to lose weight. Students who were trying to lose weight were more likely to have low-fat dairy products, less likely to have sugary beverages, and less likely to eat junk foods than those who were not trying to lose weight. Students who reported exercising 3 times weekly were more likely to report healthier dietary patterns and less sedentary behaviors than were students who exercise less often. Feedback and dialogue with fifth graders addressed the relationship between TV viewing and eating behavior, advertisement, availability, and preferences of fruits and vegetables.

Conclusions

The Youth WAVE Screener can be used to quickly identify children who are concerned about their weight as well as those with dietary and physical activity patterns that may increase the risk of obesity. Diabetes educators can use this screener to start a dialogue with children about their weight-related behaviors.

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