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Health Promot Pract. 2017 Mar;18(2):263-274. doi: 10.1177/1524839916647330. Epub 2016 Jul 9.

Motivational Interviewing in an Obesity Prevention Program for Children.

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1 University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA.


After-school programs are an ideal setting for childhood obesity prevention interventions. This qualitative study examined the implementation of a training technique in the Children's Healthy Eating and Exercise Program: motivational interviewing. Participants included 19 children in Grades 3 through 5, nine coaches enrolled in university health education classes, and four parents. Nine lessons were presented during the fall session (N = 5) and eight during the spring (N = 14), with five individual coaching sessions per child. From September, 2014 through April 2015, child and coach perceptions were assessed using goal sheets, surveys, a focus group, and the analysis of the video recording of a health habit commercial created by teams of children grouped by gender. Children developed weekly eating and exercise goals with coaches and reported on their progress the following week. Following the intervention, children reported improved eating and exercise habits and coaches reported they learned more about healthy food options for themselves. Overall, children responded positively to the motivational interviewing. Involving teachers may allow for dissemination of lessons and reinforcement for healthy choices during the school day. Involving parents in training may remove roadblocks to healthy lifestyle changes for children for nonschool hours and when packing lunches.


children; health education; motivational interviewing; program evaluation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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