Underlying Theory: MATCH utilizes constructs from several theories and models:
- Social Cognitive Theory: self-efficacy, self-regulation, goal-setting, observational learning (modeling), and outcome expectations.
- Self-Determination Theory for health behavior change: basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
- Socio-Ecologic Model: individual, interpersonal, organizational (school), family and community influences.
Strategies Used: The MATCH intervention includes the following strategies:
- School Nutrition Programs to Promote Healthy Eating through the interdisciplinary curriculum delivered by subject-matter teachers that focuses in part on nutrition education and includes skill-building activities around making healthier nutrition choices.
- Social Support for Healthy Eating through classroom nutrition lessons, discussions, and activities that increase social support for healthy eating and may be affected by peer influences and observational learning (modeling) of peers and teachers.
- School-based Physical Activity and Physical Education through MATCH’s curriculum that educates students on PA and includes pre- and post-fitness tests, PA action plans and goal-setting, and recognition for reaching PA goals and achievements.
- Social Support for Physical Activity through MATCH lessons and activities implemented in the classroom, such as PA goal-setting and classroom or school-wide recognition for reaching goals, that build social support to increase and sustain regular physical activity.
Research Findings and Evaluation Outcomes: MATCH was reviewed as a research-tested intervention. Three peer-reviewed articles and one unpublished manuscript were used to examine the effect of MATCH on changes in body mass index (BMI) measures and self-reported lifestyle behaviors (see “Additional Information” section for references). Changes in mean BMI z-scores (zBMI) from baseline (pre-intervention) to post-intervention, 1-year, and 4-years follow-up were examined overall and by weight status categories (Note: Height and weight were measured by a trained research team using a stadiometer and scale). These changes were compared in intervention and control schools. Shifts in the percentage of participants in each weight category at baseline and follow-up were also examined for intervention and control schools. Self-reported lifestyle behaviors (namely beverage and snack intake, PA, and sedentary behaviors) were also outcomes targeted by the intervention.
Intervention effects for the outcome measures are as follows:
- Students in MATCH intervention schools had significant decreases in mean zBMI at post-intervention and 1-year follow-up; these significant decreases were found across all weight category sub-groups. At 4-years follow-up, mean zBMI significantly decreased among all participants in intervention schools and increased in the control school.
- With respect to shifts in weight categories at 4-years follow-up, the incidence of obesity was lower in intervention vs control schools (13 vs 39%, respectively) and the remission of overweight to healthy weight was higher in intervention vs control schools (40 vs 26%, respectively).
- While no differences in self-reported lifestyle behaviors were found between intervention and control schools post-intervention or at 1-year follow-up, MATCH vs control participants reported fewer total servings of sweetened beverages and snacks and fewer hours of weekday TV time at 4-years follow-up.