243378 Building partnerships using an ecological approach to promote environmental change for obesity prevention in an elementary school setting

Monday, October 31, 2011

Amy Thierry, MPH , College of Pharmacy, Xavier University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
Leonard Jack Jr., PhD, Msc , Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education, College of Pharmacy, Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
Matthew Valliere, MPA , Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health, Chronic Disease Unit, Baton Rouge, LA
Audrey Easley , Principal, Bissonet Plaza Elementary School, Metairie, LA
Melinda Sothern, PhD , School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA
Rudy Macklin , Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Baton Rouge, LA
Background: As childhood obesity rates continue to rise, interventions are aiming to impact the various environments in which children live, learn, and play. School-based interventions, especially those that incorporate a multi-level approach, have been successful in changing the health behaviors of children. Purpose: To guide the implementation of a school-based childhood obesity prevention project in a Greater New Orleans Area elementary school, an ecological framework for promoting environmental change was created. The framework describes an integrated approach for addressing childhood obesity and illustrates the need for a multi-sector partnership. Methodology: Stakeholders were identified for each component of the ecological framework. An expert panel and a community advisory group with representation from various sectors including the state health department, YMCA, parish school board, parents, and local businesses were brought together in the early stages of planning. Findings: These groups were effective in identifying how the activities and resources of their individual organizations could be brought together to assist school staff in improving the nutrition and physical activity of students. Conclusions: This partnership building process has shown the necessity of engaging stakeholders early on in the planning phase of an intervention that aims to impact environmental change at multiple levels. Utilization of a guiding framework and inclusion of diverse partners will ensure a broader scope of such a project. Lessons learned here can be useful for schools wanting to launch various new health initiatives, such as creating tobacco-free or asthma-friendly schools and implementation of school wellness policies.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe how successful partnerships can be built with stakeholders from various community sectors. 2) Explin how an ecological framework can be utilized to implement a multi-sector school-based health promotion program.

Keywords: School-Based Programs, Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present as I am the project manager and coordinated much of the planning and implemenation.
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.