Evidence Base for OSNAP

Following are research articles published in peer-reviewed journals, demonstrating how OSNAP has helped afterschool and other out-of-school-time programs offer healthy foods and beverages, and more opportunities for children to be active. If you cannot access the articles through your library, please contact hprc@hsph.harvard.edu.

Evidence that OSNAP can improve children’s dietary snack consumption, particularly at sites with on-site foodservice:

Lee RM, Giles CM, Cradock AL, Emmons KM, Okechukwu CA, Kenney EL, Thayer JC, Gortmaker SL. Impact of the Out-of-School Nutrition and Physical Activity (OSNAP) Group Randomized Controlled Trial on Children’s Food, Beverage, and Calorie Consumption among Snacks Served. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2018 Aug;118(8):1425-1437.

Evidence that OSNAP is effective at increasing levels of vigorous physical activity in afterschool programs:

Cradock AL, Barrett JL, Giles CM, Lee RM, Kenney EL, deBlois ME, Thayer JC, Gortmaker SL. Promoting Physical Activity With the Out of School Nutrition and Physical Activity (OSNAP) Initiative: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA Pediatr. 2015 Dec 7:1-9.

Evidence that the Out-of-School Nutrition and Physical Activity Observational Practice Assessment Tool (OSNAP-OPAT) can assist researchers and practitioners in validly assessing nutrition and physical activity environments and behaviors in afterschool settings:

Lee RM, Emmons KM, Okechukwu CA, Barrett JL, Kenney EL, Cradock AL, Giles CM, de Blois ME, Gortmaker SL. Validity of a practitioner-administered observational tool to measure physical activity, nutrition, and screen time in school-age programs. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2014 Nov 28;11(1):145.

Evidence that children eat more junk food and nearly twice as many calories when bringing their own snacks to after-school programs:

Kenney EL, Austin SB, Cradock AL, Giles CM, Lee RM, Davison KK, Gortmaker SL. Identifying Sources of Children’s Consumption of Junk Food in Boston After-School Programs, April-May 2011. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014 Nov 20;11:E205.

Evidence that OSNAP increases children’s water consumption during afterschool snack time and identifies contextual factors important for success:

Lee RM, Okechukwu C, Emmons KM, Gortmaker SL. Impact of implementation factors on children’s water consumption in the Out-of-School Nutrition and Physical Activity group-randomized trial. New Dir Youth Dev. 2014 Sep;2014(143):79-101.

Evidence that OSNAP helps afterschool staff to create comprehensive written policies for improving nutrition, physical activity, and screen time in their programs:

Kenney EL, Giles CM, deBlois ME, Gortmaker SL, Chinfatt S, Cradock AL. Improving nutrition and physical activity policies in afterschool programs: results from a group-randomized controlled trial. Prev Med. 2014 Sep;66:159-66.

Evidence that implementing OSNAP is an effective strategy to increase water served to children during afterschool snack:

Giles CM, Kenney EL Gortmaker SL, Lee RM, Thayer JC, Mont-Ferguson H, Cradock AL. Increasing water availability during afterschool snack: evidence, strategies, and partnerships from a group randomized trial. Am J Prev Med. 2012 Sep;43(3 Suppl 2):S136-42.

OSNAP Success Stories

HPRC Partners with Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs for Statewide Dissemination of the Evidence-based OSNAP Intervention

Through a collaboration between the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs and the Harvard Prevention Research Center at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HPRC), the Out of School Nutrition and Physical Activity (OSNAP) intervention has helped create healthier afterschool, early learning, and camp environments in programs across Massachusetts. A train-the-trainer approach, which honed the expertise of nine YMCA trainers, was used to reach 23 sites that served more than 1575 children during the 2014-2015 school year. YMCA site staff attended a series of three learning collaborative sessions led by these Y trainers, during which they gained the knowledge and skills to make healthy, sustainable changes to program practices and policies. They created data-driven action plans targeting specific physical activity and nutrition goals, and shared successes and challenges with a network of peers. HPRC researchers have previously established the effectiveness of the OSNAP intervention in creating behavior change, documenting increases in children’s vigorous physical activity and improvement in the nutritional quality of snacks children consume. After participating in this statewide spread of the intervention, sites met significantly more OSNAP goals focused on key nutrition, physical activity, and screen time practices, with greatest improvements in increasing physical activity and limiting computer and digital device time offered. This project demonstrates a successful community partnership and implementation of the OSNAP intervention in real world settings for the promotion of children’s physical activity and nutrition!