A Comprehensive Professional Development Training's Effect on Afterschool Program Staff Behaviors to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

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Abstract

Objective:

Evaluate a comprehensive intervention designed to support staff and program leaders in the implementation of the YMCA of USA healthy eating and physical activity (HEPA) standards for their afterschool programs (3-6 pm).

Design:

Pre- (fall 2011) and postassessment (spring 2012) no-control group.

Setting/Participants:

Four large-scale YMCA afterschool programs serving approximately 500 children.

Intervention:

Professional development training founded on the 5Ms (ie, Mission, Model, Manage, Monitor, and Maximize) and LET US Play principles (ie, Lines, Elimination, Team size, Uninvolved staff/kids, and Space, equipment, and rules), on-site booster training sessions, workshops, and ongoing technical support for staff and program leaders from January to May 2012.

Main outcome measures:

System for Observing Staff Promotion of Activity and Nutrition.

Analysis:

Multilevel mixed-effects linear (ie, staff behaviors expressed as a percentage of the number of scans observed) and logistic regression.

Results:

A total of 5328 System for Observing Staff Promotion of Activity and Nutrition scans were completed over the 2 measurement periods. Of the 20 staff behaviors identified in HEPA standards and measured in this study, 17 increased or decreased in the appropriate direction. For example, the proportion staff engaged in physical activity with children increased from 26.6% to 37% and the proportion of staff eating unhealthy foods decreased from 42.1% to 4.5%.

Conclusions:

Comprehensive professional development training, founded on the 5Ms and LET US Play principles, and ongoing technical assistance can have a sizable impact on key staff behaviors identified by HEPA standards for afterschool programs.

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