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Effectiveness of the Husky Reads Program to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Preference and Food Group Identification in Preschool Children

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03338257
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : November 9, 2017
Last Update Posted : November 9, 2017
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Ann Ferris, UConn Health

Brief Summary:
Since 1998, UCONN undergraduate students have volunteered as part of a service- learning course to deliver a program called Husky Reads. Inspired by the nationally accepted American Academy of Pediatrics' program "Reach Out and Read," Husky Reads was first designed for promotion of health, nutrition habits and literacy by reading health-oriented books to young children in pediatric and health clinics. The Husky Reads curriculum now includes a series of 10 lessons designed to introduce preschool-age children to MyPlate while improving fruit and vegetable literacy. Undergraduate students enrolled in the Husky Reads service- learning course at UConn or college students participating in the paid summer internship program deliver the preschool lessons. Each team of 2-3 undergraduate students is assigned 2-3 early care classrooms to visit and deliver Husky Reads lessons to on a weekly basis. This series targets children at an early age because early childhood is a pivotal time to influence the path towards healthy behaviors and away from obesity. The effectiveness of the Husky Reads curriculum on a preschool age child's correct identification and liking of fruits and vegetables has not been established. The proposed evaluation uses a pre-test/post- test control group design with paired data at the child level to explore whether children who participate in Husky Reads have increased odds of correctly identifying the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) "MyPlate" program (MyPlate) and food group concepts and trying or liking select fruits and vegetables.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Childhood Obesity Behavioral: Husky Reads Intervention Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Since 1998, University of Connecticut (UCONN) undergraduate students have volunteered as part of a service- learning course to deliver a program called Husky Reads. Inspired by the nationally accepted American Academy of Pediatrics' program "Reach Out and Read," Husky Reads was first designed for promotion of health, nutrition habits and literacy by reading health-oriented books to young children in pediatric and health clinics. The Husky Reads curriculum now includes a series of 10 lessons designed to introduce preschool-age children to MyPlate while improving fruit and vegetable literacy. Each lesson includes reading at least one children's book, an activity or game, and food tasting to complement learning objectives related to MyPlate and fruit/vegetable literacy. Undergraduate students enrolled in the Husky Reads service- learning course at UConn or college students participating in the paid summer internship program deliver the preschool lessons. Each team of 2-3 undergraduate students is assigned 2-3 early care classrooms to visit and deliver Husky Reads lessons to on a weekly basis. This series targets children at an early age because early childhood is a pivotal time to influence the path towards healthy behaviors and away from obesity. Providing food tastings and increasing exposure to foods like fruits and vegetables is especially relevant because food preferences are developed in early childhood. Early childhood is also an important time for introducing healthy behaviors because once obesity is established in childhood; it often tracks through to adulthood and is difficult to reverse through interventions.

The effectiveness of the Husky Reads curriculum on a preschool age child's MyPlate knowledge and correct identification and liking of fruits and vegetables has not been established. A more comprehensive evaluation is needed to establish if the program is effective and contributes to quality improvement efforts. Findings from a prior evaluation suggest the ability of preschoolers to identify blueberries, strawberries, carrots and broccoli increased significantly after participation in one Husky Reads lesson. Although the findings were promising, the evaluation design lacked a control group and relied on a classroom wide assessment with hands raised as a response rather than measuring whether the ability to identify the produce items changed for a given child after participation in Husky Reads. Therefore, a more thorough evaluation of whether Husky Reads helps children learn to identify select fruits and vegetables is still needed. Questions also remain whether Husky Reads increases the odds of a child tasting and/or liking select fruits and vegetables as well as recognition of MyPlate and foods in different food groups. The proposed evaluation uses a pre-test/post- test control group design with paired data at the child level to explore whether children who participate in Husky Reads have increased odds of identifying MyPlate and food group concepts , and correctly identifying,trying or liking select fruits and vegetables.


Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 900 participants
Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Intervention Model Description: The evaluation follows a pre-test/post-test control group design with children nested within classrooms at center and school-based early care programs located in low-income communities or areas with high SNAP eligibility rates
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Husky Reads Evaluation: Measuring Changes in Fruit and Vegetable Recognition and Liking
Actual Study Start Date : May 1, 2017
Estimated Primary Completion Date : December 31, 2022
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 31, 2022

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Toddler Health

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Husky Reads Intervention
The Husky Reads curriculum includes a series of 10 lessons designed to introduce preschool-age children to MyPlate while improving fruit and vegetable literacy. Each lesson includes reading at least one children's book, an activity or game, and sometimes food tasting to complement the learning objectives. Undergraduate students enrolled in the Husky Reads service-learning course at UCONN or college students participating in a paid summer internship deliver the program. Each team of 2-3 students is assigned 2-3 early care classrooms to visit and deliver Husky Reads on a weekly basis.
Behavioral: Husky Reads Intervention
The Husky Reads curriculum now includes a series of 10 lessons designed to introduce preschool-age children to MyPlate while improving fruit and vegetable literacy. Each lesson includes reading at least one children's book, an activity or game, and food tasting to complement learning objectives related to MyPlate and fruit/vegetable literacy. Undergraduate students enrolled in the Husky Reads service- learning course at UConn or college students participating in the paid summer internship program deliver the preschool lessons. Each team of 2-3 undergraduate students is assigned 2-3 early care classrooms to visit and deliver Husky Reads lessons to on a weekly basis.

No Intervention: Wait list Control
Programs on the wait list for Husky Reads, participate in the pre and post intervention testing but do not receive the program.



Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Recognition and preference for healthy foods by preschool children [ Time Frame: Three week post 10-week intervention ]
    Measured by identification of MyPlate and food groups (Larsen et al) and identification of and preference for fruits and vegetables (modified Carraway-Stage)


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Identification of MyPlate [ Time Frame: Three week post 10-week intervention ]
    Ability to name MyPlate (Larsen et al)

  2. Ability to place foods in MyPlate food groups [ Time Frame: Three week post 10-week intervention ]
    Measured by using the Food Group Game, informed by Building a Healthy Me! evaluation survey. (Larsen et al.)

  3. Identification of specified fruits and vegetables [ Time Frame: Three week post 10-week intervention ]
    Identification using modified Carraway-Stage protocol

  4. Preference for specified fruits and vegetables [ Time Frame: Three week post 10-week intervention ]
    Fruit and vegetable liking as measured by modified Carraway-Stage protocol



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Ages Eligible for Study:   35 Months to 71 Months   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • child attending center or school based early care with high family enrollment in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • child whose parent has signed the "opt out" portion of the notification form.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT03338257


Contacts
Contact: Erin Havens, MPH 860-679-8515 havens@uchc.edu
Contact: Ann M Ferris, PhD 860-463-6870 aferris@uchc.edu

Locations
United States, Connecticut
UConn Health Recruiting
Farmington, Connecticut, United States, 06030
Contact: Erin Havens, MPH    860-679-8515    Havens@uchc.edu   
Contact: Ann M Ferris, PhD    860-463-6870    aferris@uchc.edu   
Sponsors and Collaborators
UConn Health
Investigators
Principal Investigator: Ann m Ferris, PhD UConn Health
Study Director: Erin Havens, MPH UConn Health

Publications:
Responsible Party: Ann Ferris, Professor Emerita Medicine and Public Health, UConn Health
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03338257     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 17-069-3
601305 ( Other Grant/Funding Number: CT Department of Social Services/USDA )
First Posted: November 9, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: November 9, 2017
Last Verified: October 2017
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Undecided
Plan Description: This group will share raw data with developer of testing instrument.

Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No

Keywords provided by Ann Ferris, UConn Health:
Pre-school children
fruit and vegetable acceptance
service-learning
pre-school nutrition education
childhood obesity

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Pediatric Obesity
Obesity
Overnutrition
Nutrition Disorders
Overweight
Body Weight
Signs and Symptoms