Online Program

Cupcakes no more: Using community school partnerships to change birthday party policy in a local elementary school

Monday, November 4, 2013

Allison Wilson, MPH, Healthy Living Alliance, Office Location: Ozarks Regional YMCA, Springfield, MO
Philomina Amofah, Master of Public Health Program, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO
Elizabeth Federman, ScD, Master of Public Health Program, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO
Background: School policies that limit access to unhealthy snacks have proven to be an effective mechanism for reducing childhood obesity. In 2012, a pilot project began with Delaware Elementary to implement and evaluate a birthday party policy. The policy replaced the previous tradition of parent-driven treats with a child-driven choice between three healthy celebration options: extra recess, non-food items, or healthy snacks. This project was implemented as a partnership between the Healthy Living Alliance, a network of over 30 partners, and Springfield Public Schools (SPS). SPS is the largest district in Missouri, and 40% of all 5th graders are classified as overweight or obese. Purpose: This presentation will discuss the policy implementation process, district and partner engagement, implementation barriers, and lessons learned. Methodology & Results: Based on assessment by HLA, physical environment related to nutrition was one of the lowest scores across multiple schools (median score = 38%) and 81.8% of parents surveyed reported that limiting access to unhealthy foods is important to a healthy lifestyle. Pre and post assessment results showed an increased score in environment related to nutrition. Teacher surveys and parent and child focus groups will be held in spring 2013 to measure acceptability. Process evaluation has shown the collaboration of partners to be a necessary part in adaptation of the policy. Conclusion: Policy change was successful by leveraging a partnership between the school district and community resources. This initial success has provided feasibility information and a model for stakeholders to expand this policy into additional schools.

Learning Areas:

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

Learning Objectives:
Describe policies that offer healthy options for school birthday party celebrations. Evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of implementing revised birthday party options in school settings. Identify strategies to collaborate with community partners in policy adaptation.

Keyword(s): School Health, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked as program coordinator for two years with the Healthy Living Alliance. I have worked on several federally funded grants and interned with the World Health Organization. My current job focuses on convening health partnerships and developing strategies in the areas of policy, nutrition and physical activity, tobacco free and built environment changes. I have presented at several conferences on public health and policy related to tobacco free and farm to school efforts.
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.