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Health Educ Res. 2002 Oct;17(5):541-51.

Healthy youth places promoting nutrition and physical activity.


To reduce the risk for chronic disease, adolescents should eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables and be physically active daily. The Healthy Youth Places Project will test if an intervention strategy that implements school environmental change--with adult leader and youth participation--will influence and maintain adolescent fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity. Using an experimental design, middle schools will be randomized (eight intervention and eight control schools), and the health behavior of a cohort of adolescents will be assessed during Grades 6 (baseline), 7 and 8 (intervention), and 9 (follow-up). The project uses an ecologically informed social cognitive model to inform a place-based intervention that encourages participation in the process of planning and implemented environmental change in targeted adolescent physical and social environments (school lunch place and after school program place). Environmental change is defined as implemented practices, programs and policies that promote critical elements (connection, autonomy, skill-building and healthy norms) in places. These critical elements are hypothesized environmental antecedents of social cognitive mediators of behavior change. The Project develops a place-based dissemination model of multiple levels (project, school and place) that are hypothesized to build the skills and efficacy of leaders (school staff and youth) that implement environmental changes.

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