Eat Smart to Play Hard

Eat Smart to Play Hard (ESPH) was an obesity prevention campaign designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among 8–11-year-olds in both urban and rural school settings. Developed within a social marketing framework, this program brought together stakeholders including students, parents, teachers, and school staff for a period of six weeks to engage in programming centered around a common goal: to “Eat Smart” in order to “Play Hard”. Core components of the program were designed to address barriers, benefits, and values identified by the primary audience, with core messages and promotions having been chosen by youth in urban and rural school settings. During the campaign, which was initiated at school, students were given an activity booklet that outlined different healthy eating and physical activities to do at home with their families. Each week, students would bring their booklet to school for their teacher to review. For every completed activity, students would receive a stamp that would allow them to earn prize incentives and a medal. Promotional materials encouraging desired actions were put on display throughout the school and community, progress posters were hung in classrooms, and announcements and parent newsletters were regularly distributed. At the end of the program, students and teachers would celebrate their successes by participating in a fun day event. The program was implemented using a matched control design, with three groups participating in the campaign, three groups receiving materials from a similar program, and three groups serving as a control for the study. Implementation and recall surveys were used to evaluate the success of the program. From baseline to follow-up, the mean number of servings of fruits and vegetables increased by 0.77 (p<.05) in the intervention group, 0.43 in the comparison group, and 0.42 in the control group. 
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