Impact of Social Connectedness Programs on Healthy Behavior Decisions Amongst Adolescent Girls: An Evaluation of Ladybug for Girls Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia Open Access
Ibe, Adamma (Spring 2019)
Background: Obesity is a widespread public health issue in the United States, particularly among adolescents. With the rate of obesity estimated around 18% among 10-17 year olds living in Georgia, the importance of healthy eating habits and physical activity cannot be stressed enough (The State of Obesity, 2018). The purpose of this project was to evaluate the Ladybug for Girls Foundation Inc. (LGFI) program and understand how social connectedness focused programs affects healthy behavior decision-making among young female adolescent participants of the LGFI program.
Methods: This was an exploratory qualitative research design, in which semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted. A total of 24 interviews were conducted. All participants were selected using convenience sampling that were either past or current program participants, program sponsors, program implementers, or program founder. The evaluation team used qualitative data analysis methods including content and thematic analysis. This was done in order to identify key themes and provide evidence-based recommendations.
Results: The following themes were identified: shift to healthier diet, increased physical activity, exposure to new things, outgoing personality, new friendships, soft skills, improved academics and program critiques. In addition, six recommendations were made which included: increase in program frequency, hiring of full-time staff, earlier program start, expanding recruitment options, embedding monitoring & evaluation (M&E) into the system, and expanding the gardening program.
Discussion: Overall, the impact that the Ladybug for Girls program has had on female adolescent participants of the program has been positive. Students' knowledge about nutrition, physical activity, and gardening were enhanced. The implications of this for young girls includes: decreased risk of obesity and subsequent disease burdens, along with increased ability to make healthy behavior choices, increased life expectancy, autonomy ,and self-confidence. In the context of current literature, the findings in this evaluation are concurrent with what other research suggests.
Table of Contents
LITERATURE REVIEW 13
ANALYSIS PLAN 23
About this Master's Thesis
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