Promoting cooking, nutrition, and physical activity in afterschool settings

Henna Muzaffar, Cassandra Nikolaus, Brian G. Ogolsky, Amanda Lane, Carli Liguori, Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: In this study, we evaluated the afterschool PAWS (Peer-education About Weight Steadiness) Club program delivered by peer or adult educators to improve food choices, physical activity, and psychosocial variables related to healthy eating. Methods: We had 109 adolescents (53 in adult-led group; 56 in peer-led group) participate in a cluster randomized controlled intervention. The 12-session curriculum framed within Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and Stages of Change addressed mediators of behavior change related to cooking skills, food intake, and physical activity. Anthropometric, dietary intake, physical activity, and SCT mediators were assessed at baseline, post-intervention, and 6-months post-intervention. Results: Adolescents in the peer-led group significantly improved whole grain intake at post-intervention (p = .017) and 6-months post-intervention (p = .014). Both peer-led and adult-led groups had significant reductions in caloric intake at 6-months post-intervention (p = .047). Only the adult-led group improved self-efficacy (SE) and social/family support (SS) for healthy eating at post-intervention [p = .019 (SE); p = .048 (SS)] and 6-months post-intervention [p = .036 (SE); p = .022 (SS)]. Conclusions: The PAWS Club program promoted lower caloric intake by adolescents. Peer educators were effective at increasing whole grains in adolescents, and adult educators contributed to positive changes in SE and SS related to healthy eating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1050-1063
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican journal of health behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2019


  • Adolescents
  • Adult education
  • Cooking
  • Nutrition
  • Peer education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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