Abstract 12745: Footprints to Health: Follow-up from the Wausau SCHOOL Project 6 Years Later
The purpose of Footprints to Health is to attack obesity and physical inactivity in Marathon County through pro-active, population-focused, integrated, and evidence-based strategies. The program targeted 6 school neighborhoods and community-wide action to increase physical activity and consumption of fruits and vegetables. Activities were planned in partnership with school wellness teams and were unique to each school. Interventions took place from 2006–2009.
Methods: Pre-program data was available from 2002–2003 school year when 423 students from 2nd and 5th grades participated in a large investigation of childhood diet, exercise habits and obesity (Wausau SCHOOL project). Following Footprints to Health intervention, 125 current students in 2nd and 5th grade took part in a parallel data collection. Three intervention schools (I) were contrasted with 3 controls (C).
Results: Body Mass Index (BMI) did not change over the time period and there was no difference in I to C schools. There was no difference in fruit and vegetable or soft drink consumption between time periods or I to C schools. There was a significant increase in fast food consumption between 2003 (M=1.05/week) and 2009 (M=1.35/week) p = 0.02 but no difference between I to C schools. There was a significant increase in physical activity over the time period in both 2nd and 5th grade students. (M=0.96 hours/day for 2003 and M=3.23 hours/day for 2009) p < 0.001. There was a corresponding decrease in sedentary time reported with no difference between I to C schools. Of the families in I schools, 89.5% indicated they received information regarding the program intervention vs. 62.3% of those in C schools. Since the control group did not receive information, the high percentage is likely attributable to social desirability.
Conclusions: Increase in physical activity over the time period is an encouraging sign of improvement. Composite changes in BMI would not be expected in this short time period. With no difference between control and intervention schools, credit could not be attributed solely to the Footprints to Health program, but might be linked to broader cultural patterns. With a high degree of social desirability noted, the timing for continued preventive intervention and education remains prime.
- © 2010 by American Heart Association, Inc.