Do teen mentors improve the effectiveness of a culturally-adapted lifestyle intervention in Arab American youth? A randomized, controlled study

Suha Al-Oballi Kridli, Yung-Wen Liu, Amity Bates, Maria Jilian, Deana Hayes, Linda A. Jaber


Objective: Rates of overweight and obesity have been steadily increasing among Arab American youths. The current study aimed to measure the effectiveness of a translated and culturally adapted health education curriculum, Just for Kids!, for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade children delivered by trained high school aged mentors compared to the same content delivered by an adult group leader in a classroom setting. The contribution of a culturally-specific lifestyle intervention targeting parents on the effectiveness of the curriculum was also assessed.

Methods: A four-group randomized controlled trial was used, which incorporated a pretest-posttest design to evaluate and compare the effects of two curriculum delivery methods. Study participants were randomly assigned to teen mentors or adult led groups.

Results: Nutritional knowledge improved in all groups with the most significant increase noted in individually-mentored participants with parental involvement. Individually-mentored participants with parental involvement (n = 17) had improved intentions (mean = 1.600, p = .990) and self-efficacy (mean = -1.233, p = .946) toward being physically active (mean = 1.600, p = .990) relative to participants in the adult-led group with parental involvement (n = 26).

Conclusions: Study results supported the use of teen mentors in obesity prevention among Arab American children. Improved attitudes, intentions and self-efficacy toward eating healthfully were found among all participants in this study. 

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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