Online Program

Promoting healthy lifestyles for the prevention of childhood overweight and obesity among a Latino population in Clark County, NV: Using an innovative program to assess the effectiveness of a school based garden program

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Michelle Wong, BS, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Victor Arredondo, MPH, American Heart Association, Las Vegas, NV
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: Almost half of Clark County School District’s students are Latinos and are disproportionally affected by overweight and obesity. The American Heart Association (AHA) implemented the Teaching Gardens program among 4th and 5th grade students with technical assistance from Johns Hopkins University and funding from Johnson & Johnson Community Health Care Program. Participating students worked in the school garden to grow vegetables and received nutrition and physical activity education.

Methods: A school garden program is being implemented over an 18 month period in 3 Clark County schools. Tools were developed to assess program effectiveness, and a data management and analysis system was created using Epi Info. A conceptual framework was developed to guide evaluation using indicators of healthy nutrition and physical activity knowledge and behavior.    

Results: 330 students participated in the AHA’s School Gardens program. At baseline, among Latino students, 18.3% were overweight and 32.5% were obese. Preliminary results suggest an improvement in indicators related to healthy nutrition, including beverage consumption, and physical activity. Additionally, the AHA has increased its capacity to conduct program monitoring and evaluation.

Conclusions: This school based garden program, tailored to a desert climate and a predominately Latino population, has been effective in increasing children’s knowledge of healthy nutrition and related behaviors among a population disproportionately affected by obesity. Program evaluation plays a crucial role in helping to improve long-term sustainability. Partnerships between community-based organizations and academic institutions can effectively augment in-house program monitoring and evaluation capacity among community-based organizations.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the effectiveness of a school-based garden program designed to address childhood obesity in a Latino community that is disproportionately affected by obesity. Demonstrate the importance of community-based organizations developing program evaluation skills, including use of a conceptual framework, and development of data management and analytic tools. Describe the benefits and challenges of partnerships between academic institutions and community-based organizations.

Keyword(s): Child Health, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been overseeing the monitoring and evaluation of the project. Part of the focus of this project is to teach community organizations with skills to conduct their own project evaluations and I have been responsible for working closely to provide the partnering community health organization with the necessary skills.
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.