Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Obesity
Objectives : To examine the nutrition and physical activity (PA) environment of urban USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites.
The current study was part of a larger observational trial – Project SWEAT (Summer Weight and Environmental Assessment Trial) – investigating the determinants of unhealthy summer weight gain in children residing in low-income urban zip codes. All SFSP sites located in Project SWEAT neighborhoods were recruited. The nutrition and PA environment was assessed via the field-tested 83-item Site Environmental Assessment Form. Nutrition environment characteristics included, but were not limited to, presence of water fountain(s) [yes/no] and vending machines [healthy, unhealthy, or mixed options). PA environment characteristics included, but were not limited to, presence of indoor gym, indoor/outdoor basketball court, nearby parks, outdoor playground equipment, and sports equipment [yes/no]. PA behaviors from the perspective of the site directors was also assessed (6-point Likert Scale; 0=Never, 5=Daily). Summary statistics were calculated.
Results : Twenty-eight SFSP sites were identified and 20 completed (71% response rate). Nutrition environment characteristics: 90% (n=18) of sites had water fountains and 40% (n=8) had either snack or beverage vending machines or both. 100% of sites that had snack vending (n=5 of 8) and 80% of sites that had beverage vending (n=7 of 8) had mixed options. PA environment: 90% (n=18) had at least one PA environmental characteristic; 39% (n=7), 67% (n=12), and 94% (n=17) had swimming pool, playground equipment, and a basketball hoop, respectively. 70% (n14) of site directors encouraged children to go outside (70%, n=14) and praised PA (80%, n=16) 5-6 times per week. Child daily participation in moderate PA was reported by 85% (n=17) of site directors.
Conclusions : Results demonstrate that urban SFSP sites have healthy snacks and beverages and PA areas available to participants; thus, the SFSP has potential to play a role in protecting at-risk children from unhealthy weight gain during the summer.
Funding Sources : USDA North Central Nutrition Education Center for Excellence