262839 Promoting healthy lifestyles among children to prevent or reduce overweight and obesity in the South Bronx, New York: Using a pilot program to assess the effectiveness of a school-based intervention

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 3:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Elizabeth Parker, MHS , Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Diana Johnson, MA, CHES , Bronx Health REACH, The Institute for Family Health, New York, NY
Kelly Moltzen, MPH, RD , Bronx Health REACH-NY CEED, The Institute for Family Health, New York, NY
Fannie Fonseca-Becker, DrPH, MPH, RD , J&J Community HealthCare Scholars Program, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Nearly 40% of elementary school students in the South Bronx, NY are considered overweight or obese. While school administrators recognize the health challenges facing their students, they often lack the resources necessary to enact change. Bronx Health REACH (BHR) implemented the BHR Obesity Prevention Program for elementary school children with technical assistance from Johns Hopkins University and funding from the Johnson & Johnson Community Health Program. This classroom-based program focuses on increasing students' knowledge of healthy eating, increasing self-efficacy related to food choices, and improving healthy eating behaviors. Using a train-the-trainer model, teachers are taught nutrition education along with the program curriculum, followed by classroom program implementation.

BHR adapted the Bienestar/NEEMA Health Program, an evidence-based diabetes prevention program informed by the Social Cognitive Theory, to focus on healthy eating and nutrition. During the 8-month formative phase, the program was pilot tested, assessment tools to evaluate effectiveness were created, and a data management system using EpiInfo for data storage and analysis was developed. Through this process, BHR and academic partners worked together to evaluate the program prior to expanding it. The BHR Obesity Prevention Program has enrolled 360 children since its start. Preliminary results indicate improved nutrition knowledge and increased self-efficacy related to making healthy food choices.

Schools play a critical role in obesity prevention; and training teachers is key to implementing effective healthy eating and nutrition education programs. A partnership to build in-house capacity for program monitoring and evaluation fosters an organization's ability to make evidence-based decisions regarding program components.

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

Learning Objectives:
Explain the role school-based programs can play when working to address the obesity epidemic Explain the way in which a train-the-trainer model helps build capacity for a school to run a sustainable nutrition education program Discuss the importance of a formative phase for program development and implementation Identify available, free-of-cost, software for data management and analysis

Keywords: School-Based Programs, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health student collaborator tasked with providing training and technical assistance to Bronx Health REACH within the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. I am published in peer reviewed journal and present at national conferences on child obesity.
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.