Evaluation of a School-Based Program Designed to Develop a Positive Body Image and the Adoption of Healthy Lifestyle Habits Among Youths

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Marie-Eve BLACKBURN, ÉCOBES-Recherche et transfert, Canada
Josée GAGNON, EquiLibre, Canada
Jacinthe DION, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Canada
Marie-Christine BRAULT, Université du Québec in Chicoutimi, Canada
Julie AUCLAIR, Cégep de Jonquière, Canada
Gamou DIOUF-TALL, Université Laval, Canada
Anne-Sophie GAGNÉ, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Canada
Introduction: During adolescence, body image and self-esteem are associated with youths’ mental health and quality of life. However, intervention-based programs intending to improve body image satisfaction, global self-esteem and healthy lifestyle habits in youth do not seem effective: More than 50% of Quebec’s (Canada) teenagers report body dissatisfaction.

Objectives: The major purpose of this research is to evaluate the short and mid-term effectiveness of the school-based Healthy Mind, Healthy Body program. This program, designed by EquiLibre, aims to develop a positive body image and adopting healthy lifestyle habits among youths.

Methods: This case-control study was conducted in two high schools in the province of Québec. All students in Grade 8 (mean age = 12.0 years) and Grade 11 (mean age = 15.2 years) were invited to complete online questionnaires at three stages of the research (baseline, T0 – Oct. 2016; one month at the end of the five-hour session school-based program (T1 – May 2017); and six months later (T2 – Oct. 2017). A total of 740 girls and boys in T0 (intervention group = 401 and control group = 339) had completed the questionnaire on body dissatisfaction, self-esteem and lifestyle habits, such as dieting attitudes.

Results: As expected, preliminary analyses reveal a variation in global self-esteem and various measures of body dissatisfaction throughout the school years. Our results show a significant effect of the intervention program, at least in the short-term: compared to the control group, youth in the experimental group reported an improved body image satisfaction and global self-esteem. Results of the six-month follow-up will also be discussed.

Conclusion: The effectiveness of the Healthy Mind, Healthy Body program was assessed. This will contribute to the identification of school-based program’s best practices and to promote the use of these practices in schools.