Development of a faith-based Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) toolkit for Christian churches

Bethany Jill Dawson, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Obesity in adolescents has seen a staggering four-fold increase over the last three decades and is one of the most important health concerns of our time. Many obesity prevention intervention strategies focus on reaching children and adolescents through schools. The Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) program is one of the best examples of an evidence-based school health program that focuses on reducing overweight and obesity in youth by improving nutrition and physical activity behaviors. However, untapped potential for successful youth obesity interventions lies in faith-based organizations, specifically Christian churches. A major limitation of the current research on obesity interventions in faith-based organizations is the lack of evidence-based and Scripture-based content that focuses on youth and has different components that can be implemented at multiple levels to engage parents and entire congregations. The overarching aim of this project was to develop and conduct initial formative evaluation of a faith-based toolkit adaptation of the CATCH school-based program that can be implemented in Christian churches (CATCH the Spirit). The specific aims of the study were: (1) to conduct a review of the literature of other youth obesity prevention programs in Christian churches; (2) to develop a CATCH faith-based youth obesity prevention program; and (3) to collect initial feedback on the program. Initial evaluation of the CATCH the Spirit program shows a positive response to the program from Christian church leaders in Houston and Austin, Texas and highlights the importance of the family engagement components, use of appropriate Scripture-based content, and adaptability of the program. Further evaluation of the program is warranted before widespread implementation and dissemination.^

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Dawson, Bethany Jill, "Development of a faith-based Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) toolkit for Christian churches" (2015). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1598361.