Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of




Date of this Version



Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 934


© 2018 by the authors

Open access



High school student researchers and teen leaders from the Health Science Technology Academy (HSTA), under the supervision of HSTA teachers, led a childhood obesity prevention (COP) program (iCook 4-H). The objective was to evaluate the feasibility and perceptions of having teen leaders implement a COP program for dyads of youth (9–10 years old) and their primary adult food preparer. Behavior change and perceptions were assessed through surveys and open-ended interviews. Across eight HSTA organizations, 43 teen leaders participated in teaching the iCook 4-H program to 24 dyads. Increased frequency of culinary skills, physical activity and mealtime behavior were reported by youth. Almost all adults (93%) reported that their youth had learned kitchen skills and that the program provided youth-adult quality time and developed culinary skills. Youth echoed adult perceptions with additional themes of food safety and physical activity. HSTA teen leaders perceived the program to be successful and reported the training they received to implement the program was adequate 98% of the time. HSTA teachers found the program to be beneficial for HSTA students in improving leadership, confidence and responsibility. iCook 4-H was feasible to be disseminated through teen leaders in the HSTA program. This teen-led approach could serve as a model for youth health-related programming.