A formative evaluation of the American Diabetes Association's Choosing Health and Sensible Exercise childhood obesity intervention

Corinne Ulrich, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. The increasing prevalence of overweight among youth in the United States, and the parallel rise in related medical comorbidities has led to a growing need for efficient weight-management interventions. Purpose. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the Choosing Health and Sensible Exercise (C.H.A.S.E.) childhood obesity prevention program on Body Mass Index (BMI), physical activity and dietary behaviors. Methods. This study utilized de-identified data collected during the fall 2006 session of the C.H.A.S.E. program. A total of 65 students at Woodview Elementary School and Deepwater Elementary School participated in this intervention. The C.H.A.S.E. program is a 10-week obesity prevention program that focuses on nutrition and physical activity education. Collection of height and weight data, and a health behavior survey was conducted during the first and last week of the intervention. Paired t-tests were used to determine statistically significant differences between pre- and post-intervention measurements. One-way analysis of variance was used to adjust for potential confounders, such as gender, age, BMI category ("normal weight", "at risk overweight", or "overweight"), and self-reported weight loss goals. Data were analyzed using STATA, v. 9.2. Results. A significant decrease in mean BMI (p< 0.05) was found after the 10-week intervention. While the results were statistically significant for the group as a whole, changes in BMI were not significant when stratified by age, sex, or ethnicity. The mean overall scores for the behavior survey did not change significantly pre- and post-intervention; however, significant differences were found in the dietary intention scale, indicating that students were more likely to intend to make healthier food choices (p<0.05). No statistically significant decreases in BMI were found when stratified for baseline BMI-for-age percentiles or baseline weight loss efforts (p>0.05). Conclusion. The results of this evaluation provide information that will be useful in planning and implementing an effective childhood obesity intervention in the future. Changes in the self-reported dietary intentions and BMI show that the C.H.A.S.E. program is capable of modifying food choice selection and decreasing BMI. Results from the behavior questionnaire indicate that students in the intervention program were making changes in a positive direction. Future implementation of the C.H.A.S.E. program, as well as other childhood obesity interventions, may want to consider incorporating additional strategies to increase knowledge and other behavioral constructs associated with decreased BMI. In addition, obesity prevention programs may want to increase parental involvement and increase the dose or intensity of the intervention.

Subject Area

Nutrition|Health education|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Ulrich, Corinne, "A formative evaluation of the American Diabetes Association's Choosing Health and Sensible Exercise childhood obesity intervention" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1454364.