202403 Lessons in reducing childhood obesity: Insights from Project Healthy Schools

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:30 PM

Jean E. DuRussel-Weston, RN MPH , MFit, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI
Caren S. Goldberg, MD , Pediatrics and Communicable Disease and Surgery, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI
Elizabeth Jackson, MD MPH , Internal Medicine Medical School, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI
Bruce Rogers , MCORRP (Cardiology), University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI
LaVaughn M. Palma-Davis, MA , Health & Well-Being Services, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Susan Aaronson, RD , MFit, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI
Catherine Fitzgerald, RD , MFit, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI
Marc Zimmerman, PhD , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Lindsey Rose Mitchell, MPH , MFit, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI
Roopa Gurm, MS , MCORRP (Cardiology), University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI
Kim A. Eagle, MD , Albion Walter Hewlett Professor of Internal Medicine, Professor of Internal Medicine, Medical School, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI
Recognition of the need to fight the battle against childhood obesity led to the development of Project Healthy Schools (PHS) in 2004. PHS, a community-university collaborative provides school-based programming to reduce childhood obesity and its long-term health risks. PHS encourages healthy habits through education, environmental change, and measurement. Interventions are based on five goals: Eat more fruits/ vegetables; Make better beverage choices; Exercise at least 150 minutes each week; Eat less fast/fatty foods; Spend less TV /computer time. The program includes 10 hands-on activities, motivational assemblies, incentives rewarding behavior change, cafeteria and policy changes, and communication campaigns. Over 5340 sixth graders have participated; 1324 of these in research. PHS has expanded from one to nine schools replicating interventions with diverse populations. Pre-and post data are collected from sixth-grade participants and follow-up is done in seventh and eight grade. Screenings include ht/wt, BMI, 3-minute step test, heart rate, blood pressure, a finger-stick for full lipid profile and random glucose. Behavioral surveys measure nutritional choices and physical activity. Outcome data shows improvements in heart disease risk factors (total/LDL cholesterol, random glucose). Surveys indicate evidence of adoption of healthier lifestyles with participants increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables and time spent exercising. Seventh grade follow-up supports retention of behavior change. Environmental/policy success includes creation of a Farm to School Program. and integration of PHS into permanent health curriculum. Key conclusions include enthusiastic adoption of the program, evidence of improved lifestyle and heart disease risk factors and durability of results out to 2 years.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss five PHS strategies to achieve policy and environmental change resulting in a sustainable school based childhood obesity reduction program. Analyze biological and survey data from 5 years of Project Healthy Schools intervention. Describe the development and implementation of the PHS tool kit for program replication.

Keywords: Child/Adolescent, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Jean DuRussel-Weston is a registered nurse and certified health education specialist. Jean earned her Bachelorís of Science in Nursing from Michigan State University and a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan. She has over 25 years of experience in Public Health as a Public Health Nurse and Community Health Education Coordinator. She has also been on the faculty of Eastern Michigan Universityís School of Nursing and the University of Michigan-Flintís School of Allied Health Professions and Studies. Jean has presented at several national conferences including the Society of Public Health Educators (SOPHE), the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and the National Initiative for Childrenís Healthcare Quality (NICH) Annual Forum. She has also presented at the international conference the Community-University Exposition 2008 (CUexpo 2008) Her current position at the University of Michigan Health System is Administrator of Community Health Initiatives which includes managing Project Healthy Schools. Project Healthy Schools, a community-university collaboration, is a school-based multidisciplinary research and education program designed to prevent obesity in youth and its long-term risks. Publications include Project Healthy Schools: A School Based Health Education Program to Prevent Childhood Obesity Agro FOOD Industry High-tech. September/October 2007 journal Cotts TB, Goldberg CS, Palma Davis LV, DuRussel-Weston JE, Aaronson SM, Lin K, Eagle KA. A school-based health education program can improve cholesterol values for middle school students. Pediatric Cardiol 2008;29:940-45.
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.