The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of V.I.K. (Very Important Kids), a school-based, multi-component intervention designed to prevent teasing and unhealthy weight-control behaviors among fourth through sixth grade students. The effectiveness of the V.I.K. intervention was evaluated using a pre-post quasi-experimental design with one school assigned to each condition: intervention and assessment-only control. Data were collected at baseline and at 8-month post-test among 63 students at the intervention school and 57 students at the control school. The V.I.K. intervention included an after-school program, a theater program, school environment components and a family component. Process data suggest that the V.I.K. program can feasibly be implemented within a school setting and can effectively engage students, school staff and parents. Analysis of impact data revealed that the percentage of students reporting being teased decreased significantly in the intervention school relative to the control school, after controlling for baseline levels of teasing, body mass index z score and demographic factors (odds ratio = 0.22; 95% confidence interval = 0.06, 0.88; P = 0.03). These findings provide promising evidence that multi-component, school-based interventions may effectively reduce teasing in elementary schools. Future research of interventions aimed at preventing teasing using a larger sample of schools is warranted.
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further supported by the program’s sustainability. At the request of school staff, since the completion of the study, the V.I.K. intervention has been continued in the intervention school and has been added to the after-school curriculum in a second school. The schools have covered the cost of implementing the program. Given the existing infrastructure for after-school programming, the schools were able to implement the program for ;$450.00 per year (1.5 hours/week for 10 weeks at $10.00/hour per leader for two program leaders, $75.00 for program supplies and $75.00 for 1 hour of staff training).
This work has been supported by a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation Grant No. 394029.