Online Program

A community–based participatory approach to wellness policy implementation and process evaluation: A case study

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:48 a.m.

Donald Lucente, MEd, Thomas A. Edison K8 School, Boston, MA
Leslye Jones, M.S.Ed, Thomas A. Edison K8 School, Boston, MA
Caitlin Kelly, MA, Thomas A. Edison K8 School, Boston, MA
April Bouzan, MEd, Thomas A. Edison K8 School, Boston, MA
Mary Driscoll, MEd, Thomas A. Edison K8 School, Boston, MA
Stephanie Shapiro Berkson, PhD, MPH, Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago-School of Public Health, Chicago, IL
Background:Despite obesity prevalence in Massachusetts ranking among the lowest in the nation, socioeconomic disparities persist. Among students in Boston Public Schools (BPS), 22% are obese compared to 7% in a neighboring community. Moreover, 87% are students of color and 77% receive free or reduced price lunch. In 2006, BPS implemented a wellness policy that required each school to develop a wellness committee to tailor nutrition and physical activity intervention to each school's unique population. Purpose:The purpose of this case study was to conduct a process evaluation of one school's nutrition and physical activity environment improvements, pre- and post- establishment of a participatory wellness committee. Significance/Results will inform school communities dedicated to wellness policy implementation. Methodology:A wellness team including parents, students, teachers, the school nurse, and the principal determined needs, assets, and likely uptake of best practice intervention. Nutrition and physical activity environment improvements and student exposure were implemented and documented. Findings/Results:In grades K1-5, 493 students were exposed to 105 more minutes of physical activity per week (130 more minutes per month) and in grades 6-8 (345 students) to 70 more minutes per week. Daily, all students were offered fresh produce and breakfast that met the requirements of the Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The process to eliminate vending machines was initiated, and a wellness fair was held with 12 community vendors and over 70 families in attendance. Conclusions/Recommendations:A participatory school wellness committee is a powerful strategy to implement district wellness policy and sustainable health promoting school environment change.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe a community–based participatory approach to implementing and evaluating wellness policy in a school comprised of students from 65 countries who speak more than 25 languages. Discuss challenges to community-based participatory implementation and evaluation of a large inner–city school system wellness policy. Explain how a participatory and engaged wellness committee was formed.

Keyword(s): Obesity, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a special needs teacher at the Edison school. I am also one of two co-chairs of the wellness committee. In conjunction with our team of teachers, the principal, parents, and students, I have overseen each wellness committee initiative.
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.