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J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 Mar;105(3):455-9.

Promoting healthful diets and exercise: efficacy of a 12-week after-school program in urban African Americans.

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  • 1Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.


This study examined the effectiveness of a unique extracurricular after-school initiative designed to promote healthy diets and exercise in urban African Americans. The Students and Parents Actively Involved in Being Fit after-school program was offered for 12 weeks to students and their parents/guardians at an urban middle school. Specific aims of the intervention were to increase participants' vegetable and fruit intake by using established 5 A Day for Better Health educational resource materials/activities and to affect their health-related fitness through dance, games, and fitness activities. Fifty-six children and 25 parents/guardians completed a standard battery of evaluations before and after the program. Pre-post pairwise t test revealed that both children and their parents/guardians showed an increase in fruit consumption and a reduction in diastolic blood pressure (P <.05). Moreover, children showed improvements in systolic blood pressure and fruit juice, salad, and nonfried potato consumption while parents/guardians showed a decrease in body fat, body mass index, and endurance walk/run time (P <.05). Overall, findings indicate that children tended to gain more diet-related benefits while parents/guardians tended to derive more fitness-related benefits. After-school programs like the Students and Parents Actively Involved in Being Fit initiative can potentially contribute to improved health levels in urban African Americans.

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