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Abstract draft 8/12/14

Abby Esmond

Objective: Several afterschool programs (ASPs) in the Dan River region of south central Virginia and north
central North Carolina have committed to adopting the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Quality Standards
(HEPAQS) to help alleviate and prevent the continuation of the childhood obesity epidemic. The Dan River
region is characterized by high rates of chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, and CVD. As these
policies will be actively enforced starting in August 2014 in the ASPs, it was imperative that baseline data was
collected this spring while the ASPs were still ongoing and while the new policies were not yet implemented.
The purpose of collecting data regarding the current state of the childrens diets during the ASPs is to
effectively compare it to the data once the policies are enforced. The standards, adopted by the National
AfterSchool Association (NAA), serve to address not only the snacks and beverages served at the ASPs, but
also staff training, environmental support, program support, and social support. The nutritional value of items
served at ASPs is often quite low, as sugary and salty foods such as cookies, crackers, and chips are the primary
menu items served. Using community-based participatory research we examined the efficacy of nutrition and
physical activity policy implementations, evaluating the second component of the RE-AIM framework. Snack
data was obtained by direct observation through use of the quarter-waste method. The primary purpose of this
study is to compare the quality of snacks served at the after-school program sites before and after the HEPA
policies were implemented. Of the standards selected to be adopted by the Parks and Recreation ASP sites, the
degree to which these policies were implemented will be determined.
Methods: Five ASP sites agreed to participate for the collection of data for the duration of this project. Each
site was visited a total of 10-14 times over a period of five weeks. Teams of 2-3 observers were sent to each
site depending on site size. The observers monitored snacks provided/consumed by the ASP kids and staff as
well as any external foods consumed. The first observer randomly chose 5 girls to observe while the other
chose 5 boys.
Results:
Site

Average # Kids

Total # Boys

Total # Girls

Total # Visits

At Site Per Day

Observed During

Observed During

At the Site

the 5 Weeks

the 5 Weeks

Chatham Boys and Girls Club

42

45

49

10

Coates Parks and Rec

10

47

53

11

Danville Boys and Girls Club

64

70

70

14

Forest Hills Parks and Rec

25

59

58

12

Stonewall Parks and Rec

12

41

39

10

Baseline data collection indicated that after-school program sites primarily served sweet and/or salty
pre-packaged snacks. The research team never observed fresh fruits or vegetables being served, although fruit
juices served were often 100% juice. It was not uncommon for snacks such as Doritos, Cheez-its, or Chex-Mix
to be served. Of the 10 days snack was observed at Chatham Parks and Recreation, Flamingo Orange Juice was
served 9 of those days. Keebler graham cracker sticks were served 60% of the observed days at Chatham.
Nutri-grain bars were served 92% of the days observed at Forest Hills, and Apple & Eve juice boxes were
served 100% of the observed days at the Coates after-school program. At all five sites, children were allowed
to bring outside food and were often observed doing so. Four out of five sites had an organized snack time,
while the fifth site did not always have a scheduled snack and often children came and went, purchasing food
from the corner store. Youth had access to vending machines at several sites, and it was not uncommon for
children to purchase candy, sugar-sweetened beverages, or chips from the vending machines. During the
observation period, bottled water was only served 30% of the time at just one of the sites. Sites had access to
tap water from water fountains but it was often not the main beverage served during snack. At all five sites,
program leaders or mentors were observed eating or drinking unhealthful foods in front of the children,
including mountain dew and a variety of chips.
Conclusions: The findings of our study are TBD. Data collection will continue in Fall 2014 after the HEPAQS
policy implementation has commenced at three of the five sites, and the remaining two sites will serve as
control sites.