Online Program

Partnering with school nurses to address childood obesity

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Mary Jane O'Brien, PhD, RN, Warren Prescott School, Boston Public Schools, Boston, MA
Background: The increase in prevalence of childhood obesity has prompted child health authorities to propose mandates focusing on population health efforts implemented in public schools. In 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was legislated, reinforcing the 2004 regulations for school districts to develop and implement school wellness policies. Methods: The purpose of this secondary data analysis was an examination of the associations of implementation of the school wellness policy and school nurse activities to the absolute change in percent of students with body mass index in the obese weight category between the school years 2005-2006 and 2008-2009. The methodological approach used correlational and ordinary least squares regression analyses. Results: School nurse activities were significantly associated with the absolute change in percent of students with body mass index in the obese weight category between the 2005-2006 and 2008-2009 school years. After adjusting for demographic variables, for every point increase in school nurse activities there was 0.16% (p < .05) absolute change in percent obese, indicating a reduction in the percent of students in the obese weight category. The upper fourth quartile of school nurse activities was associated with a nearly 3% (p < .05) absolute change in percent of students with body mass index in the obese weight category when compared to the first quartile. Conclusions: Although further research is needed, this study may increase the awareness of child health experts, policymakers and stakeholders to the importance of school nursing and its research in promoting child health and reducing childhood obesity.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related nursing
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the activities of the school nurse that were associated with the reduction of childhood obesity. Discuss the public health policy and research implications generated by the findings of this study.

Keyword(s): Child Health Promotion, Public Health Nursing, Outcomes

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a school nurse in Boston for 22 years, and recently completed my PhD in Nursing. My areas of research interest include school children's health outcomes and evidence based practice for school nurses. My dissertation work focused on school nurse activities associated with a reduction in childhood 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.