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TV Turn-Off in Cambridge Public Schools: Program evaluation and implications for future school-based nutrition/physical activity initiatives

Shelia E Roundtree, MD, School of Public Health, Harvard U, 4001 Pelham Rd, # 138, Greer, SC 29650, 864 525 8482, tuunee01@yahoo.com


The obesity epidemic in the United Sates has emerged as one of the most important threats to the health of our citizens. Specifically, ethnic minorities are most likely to be affected. Particularly concerning is the impact of obesity in the minority pediatric population. Obesity and overweight lay the foundation for devastating health consequences, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Cambridge Public Schools, in conjunction with the Cambridge Institute for Community Health, has initiated several innovative programs to promote wellness for students and their families. To this end, the annual TV Turn-Off (TVTO) program was evaluated. Further, teachers and school nurses were queried for their thoughts on nutrition/physical activity programs.


Students indicated the number of hours of television they viewed before, during and following TVTO week via a show of hands survey. Statistical analysis was performed to determine whether or not the effect was significant. Further, teachers and school nurses completed surveys regarding their views on TVTO and the potential for future school based nutrition/physical activity initiatives.


The percentage of children who watched two or more hours of television before TVTO decreased during TVTO week and remained lower than the baseline one week later. The greatest decrease was noted in fifth and sixth graders. The majority of teachers and school nurses surveyed feel that TVTO is a worthwhile effort. Moreover, they are willing to participate in this and other nutrition/physical activity initiatives in the future. They also expressed and interest in receiving additional training in these areas.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to

Keywords: Child Health Promotion,

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Physical Activity in the Nation's Schools

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA