Obesity & Diabetes Prevention Through Science Enrichment (Phase I/II)

Project Website(s)

  • Project Description

    Program ENERGY-s long-term goals are to: 1) Effectively reduce the rate of and to prevent obesity type 2 diabetes. 2) Increase health knowledge attitudes and health behaviors including a scientific understanding of the human body. 3) Increase awareness and knowledge of evidence based health and science information and how to integrate newfound knowledge into daily life. 4) Increase interest in health and science and careers.

  • Abstract

    Program ENERGY’s long-term goal is to reduce the rate of obesity & type 2 diabetes (T2D) in elementary school students by teaching & reinforcing healthy behavior choices. Obesity & T2D are epidemics among our children and effective feasible sustainable outcomes-based prevention in children is needed and MUST be implemented in elementary schools over the next decade. An intervention of this type will protect the health & quality of life of children and therefore ensure the nation’s productivity & competitiveness. Research has provided the data & tools necessary to prevent these diseases but the missing link has been a flexible successful research-based prevention program that can be replicated in most US classrooms. Program ENERGY will be developed with the intention of filling this gap & has proven to be a successful & promising model. Our initial program is a science-inquiry learning enrichment program combining 90 min/wk of classroom & physical activity activities designed to prevent obesity & T2D in 2nd – 4thgrade children throughout the school year. Over 2yrs the intervention had high rates of enrollment & retention and sustained positive evaluations by children educators & families. It produced significant health outcomes [increased health/science knowledge attitudes (healthy food selection) and behaviors (e.g. increased daily steps increased body acceptance)] compared to the control school. Increased interest in science/health-related careers was also observed. Effective translation of innovative “prevention platforms” like the proposed Program ENERGY into the elementary schools and into the daily lives of children & their families is a worthy & important goal. Goal of this SEPA combined Phase l/Phase II application is to combine the most appropriate menu of program elements & resources & to effectively disseminate the program. The sustainability of Program ENERGY is expected to come from a combination of future program income sponsorshis & local support. For the present application the specific aims to address the long-term goals are to develop & evaluate: 1) a major program focus on the prevention of T2D in addition to the prevention of obesity; 2) expand the current program to grades 5 & 6 allowing the ongoing longitudinal evaluation of the effectiveness of the program on BMI body image eating & physical activity behaviors science & math achievement & interest in science and/or health care careers; 3) dissemination of combinations of “stand alone” elements of a mini-Program ENERGY to at least 10 other elementary schools; and 4) dissemination of the full Program ENERGY in 2-4 additional classrooms in low income rural & suburban elementary schools with large Hispanic enrollments.

  • Dissemination Strategies

    1) Program ENERGY was disseminated to more than 800 children in 40 classrooms in 3 states (Colorado Texas and West Virginia) in 2005-2006. In 2006-2007 the program was disseminated to 450 children in 17 classrooms. 2) CSU students take charge of bringing the Program to other school districts. 3) Piloting of educator-led lessons. 4) Dissemination of the Program to the children-s peers and families are being accomplished by encouraging them to share knowledge in the classroom and through a series of take home newsletters and challenges in addition to pilot after-school programs designed to increase child-to-parent communication and learning. 175 families received the 2nd grade ENERGY NEWS newsletters.

  • Project Evaluation(s)

    Evaluation goals are to: 1) Demonstrate whether Program ENERGY is an effective model for increasing health knowledge attitudes and behavior related to obesity and type 2 diabetes prevention in grades 2-6 2) Determine which aspects of Program ENERGY are most effective. Also continue to determine the effectiveness of biweekly version of the program. 3) Determine whether participants in the program develop increased interest in science and health careers. Design and Instruments – The Program’s effectiveness is evaluated by pre and post questionnaires and measurements (fall and spring of each school year). The following information is collected: 1) health knowledge attitudes and behavior (CATCH) 2) physical activity behavior (SPARK) 3) physical activity (three day by sealed pedometers) 4) diabetes knowledge 5) body image perception 6) height weight waist circumference BMI (body mass index) 7) career preferences. This information is only collected from subjects who gave their consent and assent. In addition we have field-tested a set of Heart health lessons and survey instruments. Results of Data Analysis: 1) Health knowledge attitudes and behavior ‘ The ‘overall total food knowledge’ score which measures knowledge attitudes and behavior of 2nd grade students related to food on the food questionnaire significantly increased in three different schools during the last school year. The ‘overall total’ score was significantly increased by 10 25 and 20%. The intervention increased food knowledge in 70 84 and 83% respectively of the children. Health knowledge measured by percent of correct answers increased by 57

  • Resources for Sharing

    1) Program ENERGY provides resources for educators including lesson plans for classroom and physical activities. These lesson plans are available at no charge on the EDUCATOR RESOURCES page of the Program ENERGY website (www.ProgramENERGY.org) 2) Computer game 3) Training videos -Just Right- 2nd Grade 4) Also found on the website is information regarding the program-s effectiveness. This information can be found on the PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS page.

Project Audience

Elementary school students in grades 2 through 6 and their families

Subjects Addressed

Program ENERGY is a science-inquiry learning enrichment program combining classroom (body science health nutrition) and physical activities designed to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes.