Declines in Student Obesity Prevalence Associated with a Prevention Initiative — King County, Washington, 2012
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Declines in Student Obesity Prevalence Associated with a Prevention Initiative — King County, Washington, 2012

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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
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    The United States has invested heavily, through public and private sector initiatives, in actions to prevent youth obesity by promoting healthy eating and physical activity. This report documents recent trends in youth obesity in King County, Washington, which implemented a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) obesity prevention initiative during 2010-2012, including a school-based component. Similar large-scale obesity prevention initiatives did not occur elsewhere in Washington. Beginning in 2004, the Washington State Department of Health began monitoring youth obesity through the biennially administered Washington State Healthy Youth Survey (HYS). Based on data from this survey, neither King County nor the rest of Washington showed statistically significant changes in obesity prevalence in 2006, 2008, and 2010, relative to 2004. In 2012, however, King County youth obesity prevalence showed a statistically significant decrease, while no change occurred in the remainder of the state. Within King County, CPPW was implemented only in low-income school districts to address geographic inequities in obesity rates. Analysis within King County comparing CPPW and non-CPPW school districts before and after the intervention (2010 versus 2012) revealed a statistically significant decline in obesity prevalence in CPPW schools yet no change in non-CPPW schools. This decline in CPPW schools was significantly different than in non-CPPW schools. These findings suggest that school-based policy, systems, and environment changes might help reduce youth obesity, warranting further evaluation of short- and long-term impacts on population health.
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