Prevention Interventions in Hispanic and Anglo Children

Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Nursing Research

Location(s): United States


In the 1990's the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in childhood involve risk-taking. There is also an increasing prevalence among children of poor diet and sedentary lifestyle habits, which are risk factors for chronic adult diseases. Traditional health care approaches to modify these behaviors have produced disappointing results. Since high amounts of television viewing have been implicated as a contributor to these behaviors, this study will examine the influence of television on Hispanic and Anglo children's risk-taking and dietary intake, and test the effectiveness of a family based intervention in reducing children's television viewing, reducing their risk-taking behaviors and improving their dietary intake. As prevention, health promotion and self care become more significant modalities to achieve individual and community health, new interventions need to be empirically tested and disseminated. The intervention is based on "The Interaction Model of Health Behavior". This mulitphasic model provides a broad framework for investigating how various antecedents predict complex behavioral outcomes. The intervention offers a behavioral approach to alternative strategies and incentives to reduce television viewing by children and their families. Using a prospective,randomized longitudinal trial design, the investigators will examine the effects of age- and culture- specific interventions to modify children's behaviors in a sample of ethnically diverse children and their families. We hypothesize that children who experience the intervention will report less TV viewing, have fewer risk-taking behaviors, make healthier food choices, and demonstrate more preventive health behaviors. The child's motivation, health perceptions, self- esteem and coping strategies, as well as mother's stress, fatigue and health motivations will be explored. The effects of potential covarying influences on children's health behaviors such as gender and ethnicity will also be examined, as will family characteristics, social influences, family functioning, and parental motivation in health behaviors, fatigue, and stress.