Hip Hop HEALS: Pilot Study of a Culturally Targeted Calorie Label Intervention to Improve Food Purchases of Children

Olajide Williams, Alexandra DeSorbo, Vanessa Sawyer, Donald Apakama, Michele Shaffer, William Gerin, James Noble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Objectives. We explored the effect of a culturally targeted calorie label intervention on food purchasing behavior of elementary school students. Method. We used a quasi-experimental design with two intervention schools and one control school to assess food purchases of third through fifth graders at standardized school food sales before and after the intervention (immediate and delayed) in schools. The intervention comprised three 1-hour assembly-style hip-hop–themed multimedia classes. Results. A mean total of 225 children participated in two baseline preintervention sales with and without calorie labels; 149 children participated in immediate postintervention food sales, while 133 children participated in the delayed sales. No significant change in purchased calories was observed in response to labels alone before the intervention. However, a mean decline in purchased calories of 20% (p <.01) and unhealthy foods (p <.01) was seen in immediately following the intervention compared to baseline purchases, and this persisted without significant decay after 7 days and 12 days. Conclusion. A 3-hour culturally targeted calorie label intervention may improve food-purchasing behavior of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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