Program ENERGY: Scientists and Students in the Classroom Tackling Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity in Elementary Schools in Three States

Published:2007, Appetite
Authors:Smith F
Type:Project Generated
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Program ENERGY (PE) is a science/health-inquiry learning enrichment program combining classroom (body science, health, nutrition) and physical activities designed to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. Participants are children in grades 2-6 in suburban/rural public schools with high Hispanic or/and low income enrollments. PE was disseminated to more than 800 children in 40 classrooms in 3 states (CO, TX, and WV) in 2005-2006. Effectiveness was evaluated by pre/post assessments (beginning and end of school year). Results: 1) The food knowledge score measured from CATCH questionnaires significantly increased in three different schools by 10, 25 and 20%. Food knowledge increased in 70, 84 and 83% of the children; 2) Health knowledge, measured by percent of correct answers, increased by 57 ?6 % after 2 years of the intervention and was observed in 100% of the children; 3) Physical activity measured by the number of steps/day was 11,021 ?518 at baseline and rose to 12,657 ?598 at the end of the school year, an average difference of 1636 steps/day (p<0.05, increase in 74% children); 4) Scientific knowledge of type 2 diabetes and its prevention significantly increased in 92% of 6th grade children and 73% of 4th grade children, at the end of the school year. The number of children interested in science and health related careers ranged from 47 to 61%. PE is an effective elementary school-based intervention in multiple locations.