Date of Award

12-2015

Level of Access

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Food and Nutrition Sciences

Advisor

Adrienne A. White

Second Committee Member

Dorothy Klimis-Zacas

Third Committee Member

Susan Sullivan

Additional Committee Members

Kendra Kattelmann

Lisa Phelps

Abstract

Most nutrition education programs are created without adequate forethought to planning evaluation strategies. The goal of this study was to develop and implement a comprehensive 3-pronged approach to evaluate iCook 4-H, a six- session, biweekly program for 9-10 year old youth and their adult main food preparer. It was used to evaluate the curriculum for the intervention of a 2-year childhood obesity prevention study. Forty iCook 4-H classes were implemented for 150 dyads by 16 leaders between September and December, 2013, in Maine, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The evaluation included measures of fidelity of implementation, process evaluation, and program outcomes. The Fidelity of Implementation instrument, composed of 6-tool, was developed to determine if the program was implemented as intended. Based on evaluation of 23% of 240 total sessions, evaluators reported session objectives were met 96% of the time; youth (3.86±0.34] and adults (3.75±0.33] were almost very engaged in thesessions and leaders were almost very effective (3.70±0.69) (scale range, l=not engaged/effective to 4=very engaged/effective). During process evaluation—a 5- minute online survey at the end of each session—youth consistently selected "preparing” and "tasting” new recipes as learning experiences for the day over each of the six sessions. They increased selecting "learning about new and fun ways of being physically active" from Session 1 to 6 (p=0.01). Through Word Cloud methodology, the importance of family meals was documented by both youth and adults. The strong positive trend in increasing family meals (p=0.75) and significant increase (p=0.05) in physical activity reported among youth were promising evidence of changing behavior among youth. The program outcome instruments, developed through confirmatory factor analyses, were internally consistent (youth a=0.80; adult a=0.73) and reliable (youth 0- to 4-month r=0.81, 0-to 12-month r=0.75; adult 0- 4-month r=0.83; 0- to 12-month r=0.73). A scoring mechanism was established, and results were reported as part of the intervention study findings. While incorporating a comprehensive evaluation into community-based programming can be time-intensive, measuring program evaluation in a manner that allows for reliable results and comparison across groups and over time can provide the types of data that are needed to demonstrate program effectiveness and receive recognition for program outcomes from administrators.

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