Fostering Healthy Habits for Youth and their Adult Mentors in a Community-Based Mentoring Program

Session Number: 1944
Track: Youth Focused Evaluation
Session Type: Poster
Tags: mentoring, youth obesity prevention
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Shari Plowman [University of Minnesota]
Second Author or Discussion Group Leader: Barbara McMorris [Associate Professor - University of Minnesota]
Time: Nov 13, 2019 (06:30 PM - 08:30 PM)
Room: Poster 174

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Poor nutrition and sedentary activity during childhood can have lifelong health effects, including obesity and cardiovascular disease. Big Brothers Big Sisters and a University research team implemented and evaluated a program to promote sustainable healthy habits. Youth and their mentors were offered choices of community-based activities focused on wellness (e.g., open gyms, cooking classes). Evaluation data on feasibility and acceptability of activities were collected, including event-specific process surveys and baseline/post-programming surveys. Dyads were exposed to multiple opportunities to promote health. Surveys indicated some misalignment between attitudes and behavior; e.g., although most youth (91%) and mentors (71%) cared about being physically active, most dyads did sedentary activities (40%) or activities that require little effort (69%) rather than strenuous physical activities (29%). Integrating diet and physical activity programming into a mentoring program was both feasible and acceptable, and could be a promising setting to model and cultivate skills and promote health.