Abstract 3711: School-based Early Prevention Interventions Decrease Body Mass Index Percentiles During School Year, but Children Experience Increase in Percentiles During Summer
Introduction: The Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren (HOPS) Study aims to understand the efficacy of early prevention efforts addressing nutrition and physical activity in elementary school setting during the school year.
Hypothesis: We assessed the hypotheses:
HOPS interventions improve age and gender-specific body mass index (BMI) percentiles more so than traditional dietary and physical activities;
intervention children maintain healthier BMI percentiles during summer vacation compared to controls.
Methods: HOPS, in its 3rd year, includes approximately 3,200 children (48% Hispanic) in six elementary schools (4 intervention; 2 control). Data are collected in fall and spring. Interventions include modified dietary offerings, nutrition and lifestyle curricula, school gardens, and other wellness projects, with the goal of reducing childhood obesity rates in a manner that is replicable in other public school settings.
Results: Overall, data for the academic year 2 show statistically significant differences between treatment groups with respect to changes in BMI percentiles. Analyses of subgroups show trends towards greater improvements for intervention children, but only those classified as normal and in the 3rd quintile at study baseline experienced statistically significantly improvement. Data analyzed for summer vacation time show increases in BMI percentiles for both intervention and control children with the exception of intervention children classified as overweight or in the 5th quintile at study baseline. Control children classified as at risk or overweight as well as those in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th quintiles experienced greater increases in their BMI percentiles during summer.
Conclusions: Early results show HOPS interventions improve BMI percentiles of elementary-aged children during the school year. However, all children appear to be losing ground during summer vacation as their BMI percentiles increase during this time.