Proposing a Model School-based Childhood Obesity Prevention Program for Cuero, TX, A Rural Underserved City


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Abstract: Childhood obesity has become a national public health crisis in America. While many reports on childhood obesity prevention programs exist, the results are heterogeneous due to the diversity of the interventions, study populations and research settings. School-based programs focusing on healthy lifestyles provide a promising setting for preventing childhood obesity. The purpose of this capstone is to propose a model school-based childhood obesity prevention program set in Cuero, TX, a rural, underserved city. A systematic review of literature pertaining to school-based obesity prevention programs is utilized for retrieval of relevant articles for analysis. I was able to retrieve 319 relevant articles. After inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied, 10 articles remained for data abstraction and analysis. Several of the interventions, including Coleman’s Healthy ONES program, Coyle’s MFVP program, Prelip’s LAUSD program, Sallis’ SPARK program, and Pbert’s study program failed to show significant changes in BMI and/or behavior modification. Wordell’s program showed their intervention group were 1.21 times more likely to eat fruits compared to control group students. Johnston’s CATCH program showed a decrease in BMI score in their vi intervention study group receiving physical education. Contento’s C3 intervention showed a significant change in level of physical activity, an increase in healthy food choices and a decrease in sugary drinks and sweets within the intervention group. Ling’s CDC-based intervention study showed a 10% increase in students meeting CDC nutrition recommended goals. Manger’s VITAL program showed a 3.9% decrease in BMI in their intervention group. Based on literature review, programs that focus solely on one approach to childhood obesity prevention are not effective in reducing BMI or modifying behavior in children. In contrast, school-based programs that target both diet and physical activity behavior produce more significant results. My model program is called The HEARTY Program (Health Experience And Readiness Targeting our Youth), a 3-year, multi-component approach to educating students about healthy diet and physical activity behaviors. This program will prepare students to act on healthy behaviors in and out of the school environment.



Childhood obesity, preventive medicine, obesity prevention programs, School-based programs, systematic review, diet and physical activity, BMI