Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

El Paso County Serves As A Model For Obesity Prevention

Date:
October 21, 2009
Source:
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Summary:
Researchers found the obesity prevention efforts in the El Paso region were the most effective in Texas in decreasing the prevalence of childhood obesity.

Researchers at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living at The University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus found that obesity prevention efforts in the El Paso region were the most effective in Texas in decreasing the prevalence of childhood obesity.

Deanna Hoelscher, Ph.D., director of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, examined regional changes of child obesity from 2000-2002 to 2004-2005, after the implementation of several statewide policies and programs in Texas. The study found a 13 percent decrease in the prevalence of obesity among El Paso 4th graders.

"Data from the El Paso region show us that obesity prevention efforts, when implemented on a broad scale, can be successful," said Hoelscher, professor at the UT School of Public Health. This is one of the first reports of a population-wide decrease in child obesity prevalence levels in 4th grade children in the El Paso region of Texas. Research results from the SPAN (Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition) study are published in the October issue of Obesity.

The recent national obesity rates have shown no significant changes in child obesity during the last few years, with 16.3 percent of U.S. children ages 2-19 currently classified as obese, according to the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey results. Although a decrease in child obesity was found in smaller controlled studies, according to Hoelscher, the SPAN study is the first to document a regional decrease in the prevalence of child obesity due to implementation of community and school health programs in a 'natural' experiment.

"The results from the SPAN study show the first positive effects of a combined multi-level focus on state policies and local efforts to implement evidence-based community and school programs and media messages reinforcing the health messages in a large regional population," said Hoelscher. SPAN data illustrates the importance of measuring the prevalence of child obesity at a local level, rather than relying on national or state estimates to monitor trends and document successful programs and policies, she added.

During the past decade the Paso del Norte Health Foundation has provided extensive funding for several obesity prevention initiatives, including the CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Childhood Health) El Paso program, an evidence-based school health program for elementary and middle school students; Walk El Paso, which encourages residents to adopt walking as a fun and safe form of exercise; and Qué Sabrosa Vida, a UT School of Public Health program that promotes healthy nutrition and physical activity while keeping the traditions of the Mexican-American diet and foods. Media advertisements were also used to emphasize nutrition and physical activity in the community during this time period.

"The Foundation's approach to fighting childhood obesity is to engage and unite community partners at all levels for improved quality of life through initiatives that promote healthy weight and a strong body," said Enrique Mata, senior program officer of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. "The efforts we have made in promoting health policies and increasing healthy lifestyles will help develop a better quality of life for future generations in the Greater El Paso region."

Results from the SPAN study confirm the findings from previous research from another investigative team, which found that implementation of CATCH reduced the prevalence of obesity in children in elementary school. "The programs and policies implemented in Texas helped to stabilize the prevalence of obesity among all grade levels in all regions. However, the rate of child obesity in all counties is greater than the targeted national health goal of 5 percent prevalence," said Hoelscher.

Hoelscher believes statewide mandates for coordinated school health programs, the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy, school health advisory councils and required daily physical education in elementary schools may slow the rise in childhood obesity in Texas when combined with community programs and media outreach that emphasize consistent messages. However, resources are necessary for the implementation and sustainability of these effective programs in communities, Hoelscher said. "Support and funding for these mandates and programs is needed at both the state and local levels to see a significant decrease in the childhood obesity prevalence in Texas," said Hoelscher, "The future health of our children and our society depends on us implementing effective obesity prevention programs that target the entire community."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. The original article was written by Jade Waddy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. "El Paso County Serves As A Model For Obesity Prevention." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091021133902.htm>.
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. (2009, October 21). El Paso County Serves As A Model For Obesity Prevention. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091021133902.htm
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. "El Paso County Serves As A Model For Obesity Prevention." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091021133902.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins