260793 Measuring for success: Body Mass Index measurement to inform school health wellness policy

Monday, October 29, 2012

Catherine Rains, MPH , Child Health Advocacy and Outreach, St. Louis Children's Hospital, St. Louis, MO
Greta Todd-Moorhead, MA , Child Health Advocacy and Outreach, St. Louis Children's Hospital, St. Louis, MO
According to Healthy People 2020, 16.2% of children aged 12-19 in the U.S. were considered obese in 2005-2008. Growth assessments are recommended for students entering the school system to identify children who fall outside normal growth patterns. An urban school district and local pediatric hospital mobile health unit partnered to assess school district obesity rates to inform school health and wellness policies. Mobile health unit staff measured 76% (3,249) of district students' height and weight and recorded sex and date of birth. A Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator was used to obtain the BMI percentile for each child. Results were categorized into four weight categories (obese, overweight, normal, and underweight) according to recommendations by the CDC. 22.7% of students were obese and 16.9% of students were overweight. These findings along with recommendations for policy improvements were presented to the school district health and wellness committee. Using these recommendations and Alliance for a Healthier Generation as a guide, the health and wellness committee presented results and objectives to the school district board. This report served as a cautionary message to district leaders and increased motivation to address obesity. School district goals include increasing recess time, increasing physical education time, creating a health education curriculum, increasing physical activity in before and after-school programming and working with outside food sources to supply lower calorie beverages and food options. The pediatric hospital is partnering with a local community-building agency to provide healthy lifestyle programming in the district.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how pediatric hospitals and school districts can partner to improve school health policies. Describe strategies to combat obesity through changes in school health policies.

Keywords: School Health, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have multiple years of experience in planning, implementing and evaluating programs that are implemented in school health settings. In my current role, I create effective evaluation tools to measure success of community programs in areas of asthma education, nutrition and physical activity promotion, pedestrian safety, injury prevention, immunization and health screening, and food allergy education.
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.