200781 Impact of a school health coordinator intervention on health-related school policies and student behavior

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:15 AM

Michele Polacsek, PhD, MHS , Programs in Public Health, University of New England, Portland, ME
Liam O'Brien, PhD , Department of Mathematics, Colby College, Waterville, ME
Pamela MacDonald, MPH , Maine Center for Public Health, Augusta, ME
Maurice Martin, PhD , Community Health and Recreation, University of Maine at Farmington, Farmington, ME
Jacqueline Ellis, MS, CHES , Maine Department of Education, Coordinated School Health Programs, Augusta, ME
Susan Berry, BS , Maine Department of Education, Augusta, ME
Background: Health-related, school-based interventions may serve to prevent disease and improve academic performance. The Healthy Maine Partnerships (HMP) initiative funded local school health coordinators (SHCs) as a part of Maine's Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) beginning in January 2001. SHCs established school health leadership teams and implemented annual work plans to address health risk behaviors.

Purpose: We evaluate the impact of the Healthy Maine Partnerships SHC (HMPSHC) intervention on school policies and student risk behaviors.

Significance: School policies may play an important role in reducing student risk behavior, improving health, and ultimately contributing to academic achievement.

Methods: Data sources include the Maine School Health Profiles Survey and the Maine Youth Drug and Alcohol Use Survey/Youth Tobacco Survey . Cross-sectional analyses were performed on 2006 data to assess physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco-related policy associations with the HMPSHC intervention. Finally, 2006 policy and student behavior analyses were conducted to assess associations.

Results: Intervention schools were more likely to be associated with physical activity intramural offerings, improved nutritional offerings, and tobacco cessation programs. In intervention schools, school policies were associated with decreased soda consumption, decreased inactivity, and decreased tobacco use. Required school health education curricula were more predictive of decreased risk behavior in intervention schools than in non-intervention schools.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to describe Maine’s unique statewide Healthy Maine Partnership (HMP) coalitions and the opportunities these coalitions provide to impact student health. 2. Participants will be able to describe the role of a school health coordinator (SHC) within the Healthy Maine Partnership school health coordinator (HMPSHC) intervention. 3. Participants will be able to discuss how statewide surveys may be used to assess school level policy and student behavior. 4. Participants will be able to name several school policies that may support healthy student behaviors (e.g. decreased smoking, healthy eating/beverage consumption; increased physical activity)

Keywords: Behavior Modification, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: PhD Social and behavioral Health 1994, MHS International Health 1989, I have been working in public health for over 20 years and have other publications in this field/area
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.