208513 Moving the focus from size to health for positive lifestyle change: The BODY Project

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 5:30 PM

Stephanie Albert, MPA , NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
Victoria Sweat, MA , School of Medicine, New York University, New York, NY
Stephanie Velasquez, BS , NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
Nisha Kamath, BA , NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
Jean-Marie Bruzzese, PhD , Child Study Center, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
Antonio Convit, MD , School of Medicine, New York University, New York, NY
The obesity epidemic has spurred a range of school-based interventions aimed at lifestyle change in youth. Unlike other programs, the Banishing Obesity and Diabetes in Youth (BODY) Project in NYC public high schools addresses students' individual risk factors for obesity related disease. It aims to empower participants with personally relevant information that will result in lifestyle change. Participants, mostly low-income, ethnic minority overweight/obese adolescents at risk for diabetes, receive a free medical evaluation (fasting blood for glucose, insulin, cholesterol profile, and blood pressure), a personalized report detailing their health status, take part in a family educational forum teaching about obesity-related illness and lifestyle modifications, and are connected to healthcare practitioners when necessary. We sampled two NYC schools. BMI was calculated on roughly 3,000 students. 1216 had a BMI at or above the 85th percentile, thus qualifying for participation; 993 assented; and 513 parents consented. 490 students had the medical evaluation (44% male, 56% female; 17% Black, 76% Hispanic, 8% other). Only 16% of the participants had completely healthy evaluations. 410 medical referrals were made using phone calls, mailings, and direct contact with medical providers. 32% reported having a follow-up doctor visit as result of participation. The 20% of participants that attended educational sessions had extremely high behavioral intention to change and showed significant change in knowledge from the session (46% vs. 84%, p<.001). Findings demonstrate that providing individually-relevant medical information is feasible within a school setting and that it is possible to increase knowledge about health and healthy behaviors.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe an innovative approach to addressing the obesity epidemic among our youth. 2. Demonstrate the feasibility of implementing a medical screening and education program in a large scale school setting.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the creator and the Director of the BODY Project
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.