LHI Webinar: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (Part 3 of 5)

Uploaded by ODPHP on 10.09.2012

DR. DEANNA HOELSCHER: CATCH and SPAN evidence helped Texas Senator Jane Nelson and Comptroller
Susan Combs, our Texas patron saints, establish child and adolescent obesity as a priority
that needs to be addressed using evidence-based programs.
As an example, in 2007, Comptroller Combs provided funding for implementation of Senate
Bill 42 which mandated coordinated health programs in middle schools. Comptroller Combs’
funding enabled low income middle schools to purchase P.E. and nutrition materials and
equipment. Since Texas Senate Bill 19 was passed in 2001, CATCH and SPAN data have been
instrumental in providing evidence and support for school health policy in the state along
with other stakeholders such as the Partnership for a Healthy Texas.
CATCH has been widely evaluated in Texas. In the early 2000s, the El Paso area of Texas
participated in an eight year CATCH initiative, which was funded and implemented by the Paso
del Norte Health Foundation. The efforts of the El Paso initiative included community-based
and led interventions, legislation through Senate Bills 19 and 1357, policy implementation
of the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy which regulated food served in schools and
regional media campaigns, which provided messages that reinforced the school health efforts
which were ongoing.
These efforts culminated in a 7 percentage point decrease in obesity for fourth grade
children. This effort is noteworthy in that the area in which this decrease occurred is
a big area. For example, Public Health Regions IX and X, the areas that are highlighted on
the map, alone are equivalent in population size to South Dakota and Wyoming combined.
Based on the success of El Paso, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation funded a CATCH initiative
in low income Travis County elementary schools to continue evaluation and improvement of
In this study, we found an 8 percent reduction in overweight and obesity in fourth grade
children. Results from Travis County supported previous findings reinforcing that we need
to coordinate our efforts with the community and that the impact of the effort is strongest
in schools that implement the program more fully. I would now like to take the opportunity
to highlight the tremendous work being done on the ground in a single school, TA Brown
Elementary School in the Austin Independent School District.
TA Brown is among the top five performing CATCH schools in the district and has taken
a broad implementation approach, which includes an increase in teacher led structured activity
break periods, an increase in the number of student and teacher CATCH lessons, increases
in communication with the parents about health and an increase in school cafeteria promotional
activities and healthy meal practices.
Supporting the success at TA Brown is an exceptional staff which includes one person from each
grade level, an incredibly supportive administrator and Judy Howard, the P.E. teacher who is pictured
on this slide. Ms. Howard leads the CATCH Committee and guides the implementation of
CATCH along with a very supportive and involved principal. The committee is further strengthened
by a robust CATCH plan with other classroom teachers being held accountable by CATCH Champion
and Committee and activities that coordinate across the different components.
For example, the CATCH Committee was very active in sponsoring weekly Fresh Fruit Fridays
which were so successful that children got upset and called their parents if they forgot
to bring fruit to school for snack that day. One mother told us that she had to start buying
fruits and vegetables mid-week because her children ate all she had bought that weekend.
Through all these efforts, TA Brown was able to decrease the rate of overweight and obesity
from 60 percent to 40 percent in four years and has recently received an H-E-B Healthy
Campus Award as a result of these efforts.
The success seen at TA Brown can be replicated at other schools and in other settings. We
have expanded and developed other CATCH programs such as the CATCH Early Childhood Program
which focuses on preschool children and their families through daycare settings, the CATCH
Middle School Program, which includes a social marketing component and is currently being
evaluated and CATCH Kids Club, which is an after school program that has been used extensively
in YMCA programs across the United States.
And if we could advance the slide just a little bit to see. Thank you. Through our CATCH experiences,
we have learned much about what it takes to implement child obesity prevention programs.
We know that it truly takes a community to make a difference using a holistic approach
which engages both individuals and environments through policies, systems and practice to
make a change. While it does take a community, it is also necessary to have strong and dedicated
CATCH success in Texas was built on the efforts of both program champions, our boots on the
ground, and patron saints from above. Finally, implementing child obesity programs like this
require new directions and partnerships to facilitate the holistic approach I just mentioned.
Our future efforts include our recently awarded Texas Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration
Grant or CORD in which we are working across sectors/silos, including coordinating with
health care to make an impact on low income children.
Next slide. After stressing the importance of partnership, collaborations and leadership,
I cannot neglect to acknowledge the many people and organizations who have made our efforts
to fight obesity in Texas possible. These are a few of the many, many individuals and
organizations who have contributed to the development, funding and evaluation of CATCH
through the years.