Outcome Evaluation of a Policy-Mandated Lifestyle and Environmental Modification Program in a National Job Training Center
Excess weight gain is common when adolescents become young adults, but there are no obesity prevention or weight management interventions that have been tested for emerging adults who follow non-traditional post-secondary paths, such as enrolling in job training programs. We evaluated Healthy Eating & Active Lifestyles (HEALs), a policy-mandated lifestyle education/environmental modification program, at a job training center for low-income 16–24 year olds. We examined average change in body mass index (BMI) z-score from baseline to 6 months for emerging adults (aged 16–24 years) in pre-HEALs implementation (n = 125) and post-HEALs implementation (n = 126) cohorts living at the job training center, by baseline weight status. In both cohorts, average BMI z-score significantly increased from baseline to 6 months for students with BMI < 25. Average BMI z-score significantly decreased for the overweight (BMI 25 to <30; −0.11, p = .03) and obese (BMI ≥ 30; −0.11, p = .001) students only within the post-HEALs cohort; changes within the pre-HEALs cohort and between cohorts were not significant. HEALs may promote positive weight-related trends for overweight/obese students, but prevention efforts for non-overweight/obese students need to be improved.
KeywordsObesity School health services Adolescent Young adult
We thank the job training center staff who dedicated time and effort to the implementation of HEALs, and Jacqueline Robertson and Renee Euler for their helpful comments on a manuscript draft.
This study was funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Elizabeth Yakes Jimenez has received a food security research grant from the General Mills Foundation. All other authors declare they have no conflict of interest.
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