Kid's Choice Program improves weight management behaviors and weight status in school children

Helen M. Hendy, Keith E. Williams, Thomas S. Camise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The present study examined the effectiveness of the Kid's Choice Program (KCP) for increasing children's weight management behaviors, and decreasing body mass index percentile (BMI%) for overweight and average-weight children. It also evaluated KCP characteristics relevant to long-term application in schools. Participants included 382 children assigned to two groups: a KCP group that received token rewards for three " Good Health Behaviors" including eating fruits or vegetables first at meals (FVFIRST), choosing low-fat and low-sugar healthy drinks (HDRINK), and showing 5000 exercise steps recorded on pedometers (EXERCISE), or a control group that received token rewards for three " Good Citizenship Behaviors." School lunch observations and pedometer records were completed for one month under baseline and three months under reward conditions. The school nurse calculated children's BMI% one year before baseline, at baseline, at the end of KCP application, and six months later. The KCP increased FVFIRST, HDRINK, and EXERCISE from baseline through reward conditions, with ANCOVAs demonstrating that these increases were associated with both the offer of reward and nearby peer models. Overweight (n= 112) and average-weight (n= 200) children showed drops in BMI% after the three-month KCP, but overweight children re-gained weight six months later, suggesting the need for more ongoing KCP application. HDRINK choice was the behavior most associated with BMI% drops for overweight children. Small teams of parent volunteers effectively delivered the KCP, and school staff endorsed parent volunteers as the best personnel to deliver the KCP, which costs approximately two U.S. dollars per child per month of application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-494
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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