While overall prevalence of obesity improved in Massachusetts public schools between 2009 and 2014, prevalence remained unchanged for children living in poor, rural, and smaller communities. This project will identify which programs and activities have been effective in reducing childhood obesity among the successful schools, and use the information to guide future interventions for those schools that were not. Specific aims of this study are to: 1) investigate the roles of school policies, healthy eating and physical education programs, and community social and built environments in the decline in obesity prevalence among Massachusetts public school students; 2) identify necessary and sufficient conditions for significantly reducing obesity prevalence in public schools; and 3) recommend approaches to accelerate the decline and reduce socioeconomic and geographic disparities in obesity prevalence in public schools. The research team will use a mixed methods approach to identify both necessary and sufficient school and community conditions for reducing obesity prevalence in public schools using a retro- and prospective cohort design. Researchers will analyze over 2.1 million body mass index (BMI) records from 338 school districts for public school students grades 1, 4, 7, and 10 between 2009 and 2017 and correlate them with school-level administrative data on healthy eating and physical education programs and community social and built environmental data from the same period. Analytic reports and district-specific recommendations will be shared with the Massachusetts Departments of Public Health and Elementary and Secondary Education and all Massachusetts public schools.
Identifying Successful Childhood Obesity Interventions in Massachusetts Schools and Using Findings to Improve Programs at Schools Left Behind
The marketing of unhealthy foods to children and youth is a major public health concern. Children in the United States grow up surrounded by food and beverage marketing, which primarily promotes products with excessive amounts of added sugar, salt, and fat, and inadequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. … More
Eating School Meals Daily Is Associated with Healthier Dietary Intakes: The Healthy Communities Study
This study examines the association between frequency of participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs and children’s dietary intakes. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Dietary Screener Questionnaire was used to measure dietary intake of fruit and vegetables, fiber, whole grains, dairy, calcium, total added sugar, sugar-sweetened … More
Early Adopters: Current Practices and Preliminary Findings in States Adopting School-Based Water Quality Testing Programs
The goals of this project are: 1) to provide a descriptive assessment of the current methodologies used in state-based school water quality testing programs compared to recommended standard surveillance elements; and 2) to summarize water lead content data derived from state testing programs and present and evaluate data by school … More