Examining the Effectiveness of School-based Interventions for the Prevention of Obesity in Children

Team Mentor:

Dr. Katherine Cason, Professor
Dept. of Food Science and Human Nutrition
State EFNEP Coordinator

Background:

Obesity is an epidemic that affects all facets of society, including children.  The prevalence of obesity in children has nearly quadrupled over the past 30 years. Many of the interventions aimed at preventing obesity in children have not been successful. Preventive programs may need to be initiated since the early stages of life, and in order to achieve good results it is highly important to work in a multilevel manner.  Therefore, there is a need for innovative interventions designed to prevent childhood obesity among young children.

Objectives:

  • Utilizing a comprehensive program-planning model, implement a needs assessment that includes interviews and surveys to determine needs of the target population

  • Identify educational, behavioral and social, and environmental and policy approaches

  • Implement and evaluate an intervention that focuses on healthy eating and physical activity.

Topic: Development of Farm to School Family Activity Sheets

Students: Joy Anderson, Melissa Macher, Jennifer Obrien, Kathleen Sanders, Kristin Scott, Laura Roseberry, Hunter Sizemore, Ashley Stone

Abstract: The Farm to School Program is one of the initiatives to increase healthy eating behaviors among children, their families and communities. In South Carolina it is being implemented as a 2-year project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It aims to connect schools (K-12) and local farmers with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers. The Creative Inquiry Students had the goal of designing hands-on educational newsletters for children aged k-5 and 6-12 and their families. Each newsletter included an educational section, a hands-on educational activity, and healthy recipe. The results were the development of 8 age appropriate monthly newsletters that are currently being used in the South Carolina Farm to School program as part of the educational strategies. This project was partially supported by Creative Inquiry and South Carolina Farm to School Program.