, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 239-254

The Effects of the Eat4Life Internet-Based Health Behavior Program on the Nutrition and Activity Practices of High School Girls

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Abstract

The Eat4Life program is a linear series of five Internet-based modules that focuses on changing health behaviors and serves as an adjunct to health curriculums. The goals of the program involve increasing high school girls' con-sumption of regular meals, fruits and vegetables, and fiber and reducing the consumption of high-fat snacks, high-fat dairy products, and regular sodas. Additional goals include decreasing the fat grams and calories consumed from fast food and increasing the frequency and duration of exercise and activity. The modules involve text, graphics, and pictures with considerable interactions and use a number of established behavior change tactics such as personalization of content through frequent assessments, prescriptive strategies, and personalized goals and feedback. Girls using the modules as part of their health classes (N = 103) were compared to girls who were in health classes, but did not use the modules (N = 77). Across four cohorts of experimental and comparison classes, girls using the modules reported that they made relatively consistent changes in all nutrition areas except for reducing the consumption of high-fat dairy products. Similar consistent findings were found for changes in fast food consumption and aerobic conditioning activity. While it is important to develop measures to corroborate self-report indices and to sustain initial student changes, future work also needs to focus on Internet-based programs directed toward the mediators of change such as teachers.