Journal of Health Education Research & Development

ISSN: 2380-5439

Open Access

Pilot Testing an Intervention to Promote Healthy Eating Among Puerto Rican Adolescents: Lessons Learned on Dietary Fiber Consumption


Rodríguez MC, Correa-Matos N and Rodríguez-Pérez R

Background: Data reported in the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) showed that 24.2% of Puerto Rican adolescents (grades 9th through 12th) were overweight or obese, 14.3% did not eat fruit, and 16.4% did not eat vegetables “during the 7 days before the survey”. The need for culturally-sensitive-age-appropriate nutrition education materials in Spanish is imperative for the success of obesity prevention initiatives.

Objective: To promote changes in dietary behaviors, among 12 to 14 years old adolescents, through the development of culturally sensitive and age-appropriate nutrition education materials for an educational intervention on healthy eating.

Design: A pretest and two post-tests design was employed to measure changes in dietary behaviors, with a Post-test II after one month to evaluate if changes were maintained.

Participants/Setting: Participants were 339 adolescents aged 12-14 years. Interventions, conducted by trained Extension educators, took place in 10 Extension’s 4-H clubs, including rural and urban settings.

Intervention: The intervention consisted of the implementation of the six lessons curriculum moving to Healthy Eating. Every lesson was taught face-to-face on a period of 45 to 60 minutes followed by experiential learning activities on the topics.

Main outcome measures: Changes in the frequency of consumption of vegetables, fruits, 100% fruit juices, whole-grain rice and cereals, low-fat milk, fried foods, sweet desserts, water and sugared beverages.

Statistical analysis performed: Data was analyzed through Analysis of Variance ANOVA using a Linear Mixed Model (P˂0.05).

Results: Pre vs. post-I comparisons showed a significant increase in the frequency of consumption of vegetables and a decrease in consumption of sweet desserts. After one month (post-II), participants showed a significant increase in the frequency of consumption of dietary fiber consumption on fruits, vegetables, fruits, whole grain rice, cereals and 100% fruit juices while decreased their consumption of sweet desserts, compared to pre-test.

Conclusion: Tailored culturally sensitive nutrition intervention promotes positive healthy eating in Puerto Rican adolescents by increasing dietary fiber consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grain-cereals.


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