Health Behavior Research Program--MDH
The Health Behavior Research Program develops and evaluates programs to promote healthy eating and activity behaviors
The mission of the Health Behavior Research Program (HBRP) is to develop, implement and evaluate programs to support the development and maintenance of healthy eating and physical activity patterns among children and youth.
Using behavior change theory as a base, we collaborate with others to conduct pilot studies as well as large-scale randomized intervention trials.
Once research studies prove programs effective, we promote their use in childcare centers, schools and other community settings in Minnesota and nationwide.These programs target children, their parents, teachers and caregivers.
We work with childcare centers, schools, public health agencies and tribal governments to promote child health by supporting implementation of proven policies, programs and practices that expand:
- availability of healthful foods
- opportunities and support for being active
- use of effective behavior-change curricula that motivate and support healthy habits
Federal grants, private foundations, and other mechanisms fund the research studies conducted by the HBRP.Our aim is to improve the public’s health and reduce health care costs.
Healthy eating and activity patterns are the foundation of a healthy life
Eating and activity patterns begin in childhood and carry into adolescence and adulthood, influencing children’s current and future health.Children with healthy eating and activity habits have healthier growth and development, learn better, and feel better!
Poor eating and physical activity patterns lead to obesity and other diseases and conditions, which significantly impact physical and emotional health.
- Since the 1970’s obesity rates have more than doubled for preschoolers and adolescents, and more than tripled for children aged 6-11 years.
- It is estimated that 1 in every 3 children born in 2005 will develop diabetes during their lifetime.For children of color, the estimate is 1 in 2.This is largely due to overweight.
Children are not meeting recommendations for healthy eating and physical activity patterns.
The USDA “report card” based on Healthy Index scores of children 2-9 years shows:
- Most children have a diet that “needs improvement” or is “poor”.
- Of all the five food groups, children are most likely to have low consumption of fruits and vegetables.
In general, children do not meet the 2005 US Dietary Guideline recommendations for dietary intake, nor do they meet the recommendation to be active at least one hour daily.
How HBRP Serves Minnesotans
Schools and childcare centers provide opportunities to create healthy environments and to reach thousands of children, parents and staff members with proven, behavior change programs.
The HBRP supports schools and childcare centers to make the best use of the their educational resources by providing tested intervention programs to support healthy behaviors.
HBRP Programs and Activities
5 A Day Power Plus - “High 5” and “5 FOR 5”
5 A Day Power Plus is an innovative program to encourage elementary school students to eat more fruits and vegetables!The program targets 4th and 5th grade students, using a fun, eight-week curriculum, food service and family involvement program.This program was proven effective in increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.Program components include:
- The “High 5” fourth-grade and “5 for 5” fifth grade classroom curricula include eight weekly lessons to build skills and form habits for eating fruits and vegetables.Students form teams, read a weekly comic or story, compete with other students to eat more fruits and vegetables at lunch, and do fun group activities in class to increase their skills for choosing and eating fruits and vegetables.
- The home materials provide weekly newsletters and activities for parents and students to do at home.
- Weekly classroom food preparation activities increase students’ exposure to fruits and vegetables and build food preparation skills.
- Promotions in the school cafeteria increase choice, availability, and appeal of fruits and vegetables.
To access the 5 A Day Power Plus curricula and dissemination manual, go the National Cancer Institute’s Research-Tested Intervention Program website at: http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/rtips
5 A Day Cafeteria Power Plus – “High 5 Flyers Program” for elementary schools.
The “High 5 Flyers Program” is a cafeteria-based program that encourages students to eat 3 servings of fruits and vegetables every day at lunch.This effective program has “daily” and “special” activities, including:
- Offering more fruits and vegetables at lunch, making them look appealing, and encouraging students to take them!
- Promoting fruits and vegetables using sampling, contests, and other fun activities in the cafeteria.
This program is designed to augment the 5 A Day Power Plus program, or to be implemented alone.
American Indian Children Walking for Health
This study aimed to reduce obesity in American Indian children.It was developed and tested collaboratively with tribal and school staff at Red Lake and Leech Lake reservations in Minnesota.
- Children walked daily during school with their teachers for 20-30 minutes for two school years.
- Children that walked daily were leaner on average than the students in the comparison school that didn’t walk.
A program manual and video are available.
5 a Day Preschool Power Plus – “Learning About Nutrition Through Activities: LANA”
Currently being tested in 20 childcare centers in the Twin Cities area, the LANA Program aims to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables among preschool children through:
- Food service changes to include more fruits and vegetables at lunch and snack
- Classroom activities, including tasting and cooking with fruits and vegetables, and six, week-long curriculum units.
- Parent events and materials.
For more information please contact Gretchen Taylor, HBRP Supervisor at
651-201-5390 or Gretchen.firstname.lastname@example.org