Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

8-21-2015

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0134470

Abstract

Introduction:

Few dissemination evaluations exist to document the effectiveness of evidence-based childhood obesity interventions outside the research setting.

Objective:

Evaluate Healthy Choices (HC), a multi-component obesity prevention program, by examining school-level changes in weight-related behaviors and weight status and the association of implementation components with odds of overweight/obesity.

Methods:

We compared baseline and Year 3 school-level behavioral and weight status outcomes with paired t-tests adjusted for schools’ socio-demographic characteristics. We used generalized estimating equations to examine the odds of overweight/obesity associated with program components.

Setting/Participants:

Consecutive sample of 45 of 51 middle schools participating in the HC program with complete baseline and follow-up survey data including a subsample of 35 schools with measured anthropomentry for 5,665 7th grade students.

Intervention:

Schools developed a multi-disciplinary team and implemented an obesity prevention curriculum, before and after school activities, environmental and policy changes and health promotions targeting a 5-2-1 theme: eat ≥ 5 servings/day of fruits and vegetables (FV), watch ≤ 2 hours of television (TV) and participate in ≥ 1 hours/day of physical activity (PA) on most days.

Main Outcome Measures:

1) School-level percent of students achieving targeted behaviors and percent overweight/obese; and 2) individual odds of overweight/obesity.

Results:

The percent achieving behavioral goals over three years increased significantly for FV: 16.4 to 19.4 (p = 0.001), TV: 53.4 to 58.2 (p = 0.003) and PA: 37.1 to 39.9 (p = 0.02), adjusting for school size, baseline mean age and percent female, non-Hispanic White, and eligible for free and reduced price lunch. In 35 schools with anthropometry, the percent of overweight/obese 7th grade students decreased from 42.1 to 38.4 (p = 0.016). Having a team that met the HC definition was associated with lower odds of overweight/obesity (OR = 0.83, CI: 0.71–0.98).

Conclusions and Relevance:

The HC multi-component intervention demonstrated three-year improvements in weight-related behaviors and weight status across diverse middle schools. Team building appears important to the program’s effectiveness.

Publisher Statement

Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 License.

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