Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Health Services Research

Committee Director

Muge Akpinar-Elci (Director)

Committee Member

Matthew Hoch

Committee Member

Maureen Boshier


The purpose of this study was to examine the utility of the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills Model (IMB) as a foundation to design childhood obesity prevention afterschool programs. This study employed a secondary analysis of pre (n=172), post (n=170), and 1-year follow-up (n=32) evaluations of the obesity prevention afterschool program Virginia Beach Let’s Move for children ages 5-11 years. Independent variables included demographic characteristics for the participating children and their parents. Dependent variables used in this study were the IMB constructs information and motivation. Motivation was measured by the attitudes of the children and information was measured by the children’s knowledge.

The overall frequency of high scores for attitudes and knowledge at post and 1-year follow-up were similar across different demographic groups. The afterschool program had a significant effect on attitudes (V = .907, F (1, 23) = 225.2, p < .05) and knowledge (V = .790, F (1, 23) = 86.62, p < .05) scores. Attendance had a significant effect on the improvement of test scores from pre to post test (V = .322, F (3, 23) = 3.64, p < .05). Demographic variables did not directly influence knowledge or attitudes; however, demographic variables interacted to significantly influence knowledge and attitudes. Significant interactions were followed-up with univariate testing to find most influential variables. Univariate follow-up tests suggested grade, children’s gender, and attendance had a significant effect on attitudes and knowledge. The effect of the afterschool program on attitudes and knowledge remained significant at the 1-year evaluation. The IMB model explained 53% variance in healthy eating, 58% variance in physical activity, 40% variance in consumption of fruits and vegetables, and 35% variance in water consumption.

Overall, this study supports using the IMB model for significant and sustainable changes of the obesity-related behaviors motivation and information. The odds of eating healthy, consuming fruits and vegetables, and physical activity increased with higher levels of knowledge. The effects of behavioral skills and parental engagement could be explored in future studies and results may further support the IMB model as an appropriate framework for afterschool obesity prevention programs in elementary schools.