Body Quest Makes a Difference
Body Quest successfully increases student fruit and vegetable consumption in schools with a high percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunches. Treatment groups show a higher consumption of both fruits and vegetables at the end of the intervention compared to consumption by control groups. Body Quest reached 55 Alabama counties, 114 schools and 338 classes in 2017. As a result of Body Quest, third graders made positive behavior changes in four identified obesity prevention predictors:
- Increased fruit and vegetable consumption.
- Decreased sugary beverage consumption.
- Increased physical activity.
- Decreased television time.
Body Quest Reaches Parents
Because parents are the gatekeepers of good nutrition in the home, shopping, and meal preparation behaviors have a major impact on availability of healthy foods for children. Parents are given low-cost, easy-to-prepare recipes for their families. Text messages and take-home educational items provide tips for improving nutrition in the home. At the end of Body Quest in 2017, treatment parents reported increases in healthy shopping behaviors compared to their shopping behaviors before Body Quest.
- 28% increased comparing prices at grocery stores.
- 34% increased reading nutrition facts labels.
- 33% increased buying foods with less salt.
- 34% increased buying low-fat dairy products.
- 32% increased buying foods with less sugar.
Text messaging engages parents and encourages them to make a change. The texting initiative keeps parents motivated to make the recipes and to make positive changes in personal eating, shopping, and physical activity. It also provides tips for improving the home food environment for children. Text messages with nutrition information, tips and action prompts are sent to parents’ cell phones three times a week. Texting has proven to be a successful method of reaching and engaging parents. Responses from 2017 are as follows:
- 97% enjoyed Body Quest text messages.
- 79% bought more fruits and vegetables.
- 77% noticed their children eating more vegetables.
- 82% cut back on sugary drinks.
- 93% engaged in more physical activity with their children.
Body Quest Milestones
- “Thank you for this program. I cannot say enough to explain the difference that it has made in my daughter’s diet. I have bragged about it at work. She now eats salad, spinach and cauliflower, also carrots. It is amazing! I hope that my other two children will also have a chance at this program.” – Parent
- “My students are constantly talking about BQ. Each week, I have them journal their experiences. The children always write about the meals they prepare with their families. A program like this is essential and fun!” – Third Grade Teacher
- “I just wanted to let you know that I just spoke with a parent whose child is in the third grade BQ program in Thomasville. She just told me that since we had been doing BQ that her child had lost 9 pounds and that she has quit eating chips, junk food, etc. She also said that her daughter fills out her calendar every day!” – Educator