242228 Cleveland Clinic partners with 16 area school districts to evaluate childhood obesity and recommend next steps

Monday, October 31, 2011

Michelle Del Toro, MPH, MALS , Public Health and Research, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Persis Sosiak, MPH, BSN, RN , Public Health and Research, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Background: Childhood obesity is a growing concern in Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio, which ranks 30th in the nation for overweight or obese children.

Purpose: Cleveland Clinic partnered with the First Ring Superintendents' Collaborative (FRSC) to implement programming focusing on the prevention of obesity among children, beginning with body mass index (BMI) assessments of kindergarten and fifth graders.

Significance: The FRSC represents 16 public school districts and approximately 70,000 students. BMI assessments were undertaken prior to the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 210 which mandates BMI assessments at grades K, 3, 5 and 9.

Methodology: The FRSC decided that wellness was an important focus of their collaboration and asked Cleveland Clinic to provide technical assistance and expertise. Cleveland Clinic sought and received Institutional Review Board approval to conduct BMI assessments in April 2010.

Findings/Results: BMI assessments were conducted on 7,963 students in 71 elementary schools in northeast Ohio. Approximately 25% of kindergarten students and 40% of fifth grade students were found to be at or above the 85th percentile for BMI. Results and community resources were shared with parents.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Cleveland Clinic continues to be an active partner with the FRSC. All aspects of our 5 to go! program (health and wellness curricula, speaker series and policy recommendations) have been offered to all 16 districts. Three districts are currently offering our curricula and one district is implementing our speaker series. BMI assessments continue among kindergarten and fifth graders. Third grade will be added for the 2011-2012 school year.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Program planning
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Discuss ways in which healthcare institutions and schools can collaborate to impact childhood obesity.

Keywords: Obesity, Children's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee, promote & develop childhood wellness programs in schools, such as BMI assessments, curricula & policy implementation.
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.