Online Program

Preventing childhood obesity through an integrated school-based nutrition and physical activity intervention among fourth through sixth grade students in Chicago public schools

Monday, November 2, 2015

Julia Wolfson, MPP, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Heidi Knoblock, MPH, Action for Healthy Kids, Chicago, IL
Hannah Laughlin, MPH, Action for Healthy Kids, Chicago, IL
Amy Moyer, Action for Healthy Kids, Chicago, IL
Elizabeth Sorice, Action for Healthy Kids, Chicago, IL
Fannie Fonseca-Becker, DrPH, Director, J&J Community Health Scholars Program, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
background: Nearly 30% of Chicago children aged 6-11 are obese, more than 1.5 times the national rate. Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) uses school-based policy and environmental changes combined with educational and behavioral interventions to create health-promoting environments in schools across the US. AFHK formed a community/academic partnership with Johns Hopkins University and funding from the Johnson & Johnson Community Healthcare Program to implement and evaluate AFHK programing in three Chicago public elementary schools.


methods: During an 18-month pilot and 1st intervention phase, AFHK worked with three Chicago public elementary schools to implement nutrition and physical activities in accordance with local school wellness policies and introduce a new parent engagement initiative. To evaluate program effectiveness, AFHK and Johns Hopkins partners worked together to develop assessment tools informed by a program specific conceptual framework and created a data management system using EpiInfo. Ninety-nine children in grades 4-6 participated in the program.


results: In this mostly low-income and Black sample of Chicago students, 50% were overweight or obese at the baseline. Preliminary results indicate that participation in the AFHK activities is associated with improved knowledge and self-efficacy regarding nutrition and physical activity.


conclusion: The comprehensive, school-based approach used by AFHK aims to prevent childhood obesity by helping children make healthy choices through increased knowledge, self-efficacy and improvements to the school environment. The evaluation process undertaken by AFHK and Johns Hopkins/ Johnson & Johnson partners increased in-house evaluation capacity at AFHK with the goal of improving the long-term sustainability of the program.

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
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe how Game On, a school-based wellness framework, can improve school and student health. Describe program monitoring and evaluation process for school-based nutrition and physical activity programs. Evaluate program effectiveness as measured by changes in attitudes, behaviors, self-efficacy and Body Mass Index (BMI) changes pre and post intervention.

Keyword(s): Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD Candidate in public health and public policy at Johns Hopkins University. I have been an authors on multiple peer reviewed publications in leading public health journals.
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.