• A Summer Health Program for African-American High School Students in Baltimore, Maryland: Community Partnership for Integrative Health

      Pierce, B.; Bowden, B.; McCullagh, M. (Elsevier Inc., 2017)
      Context Physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and chronic stress threaten the health of African-American youth in urban environments. Conditions often worsen in summer with diminished access to healthy foods and safe venues for physical activity. Objective A public-private partnership was formed to develop and evaluate an integrative health intervention entitled "Mission Thrive Summer" (MTS). Methods The MTS setting was an urban farm and adjacent school in a low-income community in Baltimore, Maryland. The intervention included farming, nutrition education, cooking, physical activity, yoga, mindfulness, and employment. Mixed-methods outcomes evaluation was conducted. Quantitative measures included accelerometry and self-reported health behaviors, using the Child and Adolescent Mindfulness Measure, Perceived Stress Scale, Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (PAQA), CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and Block Kids Food Screener (BKFS). Outcomes were compared pre- and post-intervention using paired t-tests. Qualitative evaluation was based on participant and parent interviews. Participants In total, 36 African-American 9th- and 10th-grade students joined MTS (17 in 2013, 26 in 2014, and 7 participating both years). Results In total, 88% of participants completed MTS. Accelerometry revealed that participants took 7158 steps and burned 544 calories per day during MTS. Participants experienced statistically significant improvements in self-reported physical activity (PAQA) and dietary habits (BKFS). Surveys did not detect changes in stress or mindfulness (P >.05). Qualitative data demonstrated new knowledge and skills, increased self-efficacy, health behavior change, and program enjoyment. Conclusions MTS was feasible among African-American high school students in Baltimore. Mixed-methods outcomes evaluation provided preliminary evidence of health behavior change during the summer and at follow-up. Copyright 2017 The Authors