208631 Counterweight: A multilevel, multi-cohort analysis of school policy on adolescent obesity in Utah

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Edward Coffield, MA, PhD Student , Economics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Norman J. Waitzman, PhD , Economics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Rebecca L. Utz, PhD , Sociology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
School district officials nationwide have implemented various nutritional, physical education, and dietary policies in hopes of reducing childhood obesity by providing healthier food service programs and developing healthy eating practices among children. The purpose of this analysis is to evaluate the influence of certain of these policies on childhood overweight and obesity among a population sample in Utah. The analysis is based on the Utah Population Database (UPDB), a genealogically-linked database consisting of birth and death certificates, driver's license records, and other state administrative records for Utah residents. All individuals born in Utah between 1983 and 1990 receiving their first state driver's license sixteen to nineteen years later formed the sample (n= 137,832). Self-reported weight and height in adolescence, prenatal characteristics, and sociodemographic characteristics were extracted from the UPDB. School policies were obtained from the Center for Disease Control's School Health Profiles Surveys and aggregated to the district level. Residential information from the UPDB permitted the identification of neighborhood and school district. The merged data was analyzed via hierarchal linear regression models to identify the influence of school nutritional, dietary, and physical education policies on childhood obesity independent of socioeconomic, prenatal, and other neighborhood characteristics. Preliminary analyses indicate that specific physical educational policies as well as dietary/nutritional policies are of particular significance in lowering the risk of adolescent obesity, particularly among children in low-income districts and districts with high concentrations of minority students. The preliminary results provide support for the continued use of school policies to help combat childhood obesity.

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the influence school nutrition, dietary, and physical education policies have on reducing childhood obesity and overweight.

Keywords: Child Health Promotion, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I performed the primary research and composition which make up this analysis.
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.