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Healthier School Environment Leads to Decreases in Childhood Obesity – The Kearney Nebraska Story
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    26440386
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC4739834
  • Description:
    Background

    Schools play a role in addressing childhood obesity by implementing healthy eating and physical activity strategies. The primary aim of this case study was to describe prevalence of overweight and obesity among elementary school students in a rural Mid-western community between 2006 and 2012. The secondary aim was to use a novel approach called “population dose” to retrospectively evaluate the impact dose of each strategy implemented and its estimated potential population level impact on changes in overweight and obesity.

    Methods

    Weight and height were directly measured annually beginning in January 2006 to assess weight status, using body mass index (kg·m2), for all kindergarten – fifth grade students (N ≈ 2,400 per year). Multiple evidence-based strategies were implemented in nine schools to increase physical activity and healthy eating behaviors. BMI reporting and revised school meal programs were implemented district-wide. Comprehensive school physical activity programs (CSPAP), school food environment, and supportive/promotional strategies were implemented at individual schools.

    Results

    The absolute change in prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 95th percentile) decreased from 16.4% to 13.9%, indicating a 15.2% relative change in prevalence of obesity in 6 years. There was an inverse relationship between the number of strategies implemented and prevalence of overweight and obesity over time.

    Conclusions

    District and school-level approaches have the potential to impact childhood obesity. Schools can successfully implement strategies to address overweight and obesity, but the extent of implementation between schools may vary. Population dose analysis can be used to estimate impact of clusters of strategies to address overweight/obesity.

  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Funding:
    CC999999/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
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