141st APHA Annual Meeting

In This section

275743
Body mass index screening letter study - phases I and II

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Donna Kephart, MHA , Department of Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
Jennifer Kraschnewski, MD, MPH , Department of Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
Jody McCullough, AA , Department of Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
Barbara Blatt, M.Ed. , Department of Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
Background: Childhood obesity remains a significant public health concern and one in three children in Pennsylvania is considered overweight or obese. School-based behavioral interventions may hold merit in the fight against childhood obesity such as through body mass index (BMI) screening and parental notification programs. Although more than 25% of states require such programs, BMI screening and notification has had limited effectiveness. The objective of this study was to develop and test an effective BMI screening letter that would lead parents to tools and resources for making healthy lifestyle changes for their children. Methods: In Phase I, we conducted structured interviews of parents (N=42) of students from central Pennsylvania schools (N=6). Parents were asked to provide feedback on two different BMI notification letters their standard form and an expert-revised letter. Qualitative analysis of the interviews guided further letter revisions. In Phase II, the revised letter was distributed at five schools and four schools received the standard letter as part of their annual screening notification. Parents were invited to participate in a survey (N=344) to further evaluate the differences between letters. Results/Conclusions: Among parents of overweight or obese children, significantly more recipients of the revised letter intended to take action when compared to those receiving the standard letter (71% v.s 40%, p<0.02). The revised BMI notification letter may instigate parents to take action to address their children's BMI. However, further research is necessary to identify more effective ways of supporting parents to make healthful changes for their at-risk children.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Identify factors that lead parents to tools and resources for making healthy lifestyle changes and instigate parents to take action.

Keywords: School Health Educators, Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Ms. Kephart joined Penn State College of Medicine in 1993 and has over 17 years of experience in clinical trials including behavioral intervention studies. Since 2009, she has served at the Executive Director of the PRO Wellness Center. The Center is well-recognized among school administrators, nurses and physical education teachers in the schools as a source for technical assistance related to evidence-based in physical activity and nutrition.
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.