236063 Strengthening Hospital-School Partnerships to Meet Obesity Prevention Goals

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:45 AM

Cindy Levey, MPH , Community Health Initiatives, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a non-profit in Los Angeles, provides interactive comprehensive obesity prevention education in elementary schools. Cedars-Sinai's efforts target ten schools. 80%-90% of the students in participating schools are eligible for subsidized school lunch.

Healthy Habits seeks to halt the rise of childhood obesity by engaging students to increase: their knowledge and skills in making healthy choices; their motivation to participate in physical activity; and their communication with parents. Healthy Habits empowers parents with tools to create a healthy family environment. Teachers are equipped with classroom activities to reinforce learning.

Healthy Habits, facilitated by Cedars-Sinai staff, includes a 10-lesson series for second graders; refreshers for upper grades; parent handouts; taste tests; physical activities; teacher trainings; classroom activities for teachers; and parent workshops.

Findings from collected data indicate the perceived strength of the program from all stakeholders. Data collection shows that children, parents and teachers have increased communication about healthy eating. At-school eating behaviors have been positively impacted.

Many programs use a train-the-trainer method, encouraging teachers to implement obesity prevention programs. Our experience has shown the increasing need to acknowledge teachers' already full agenda. The extra work for teachers to implement this program grocery shopping, food preparation and clean up would prohibit most teachers from engaging in comprehensive experiential obesity prevention education. Therefore, utilizing partnerships and resources from community hospitals to meet school district and state requirements, while working with teachers as champions to continue the learning outside of formal programs, is a win-win opportunity for both organizations.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Design a proposal to healthcare service organizations, hospitals or other community organizations describing the obesity prevention education and services that are needed by students and schools. 2. Identify pathways to partnerships with community hospitals in order to benefit from their internal resources, competencies, and commitment to community service. 3. List solutions to overcome the challenges in integrating health education throughout the school.

Keywords: Obesity, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I direct obesity prevention programs in underserved communities under the auspices of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's mission to improve the health of the community. I have a Master's Degree in Public Health with 15 years of community health experience.
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.