Engaging stakeholders in community-level obesity prevention programming: Evaluation of the Fit Family Challenge

Gerardo Jesus Pacheco, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Introduction: Both a systems approach to change and a focus on multi-sector interventions ensures obesity prevention programming within the community is equitable, sustainable, and cost-effective. An authentic community engagement approach is required to implement interventions guided by best-evidence research and practice. Although there are examples illustrating the benefits of community engagement, there is no standardized method to implement it. The San Antonio Sports Foundation (SA Sports), a non-profit community-based organization, implements a variety of free events and programs promoting active life styles. One such program is the Fit Family Challenge which is a summer-long program implemented at the school level targeted at families. Aims: This thesis was a culmination of the experience from the student collaborating with SA Sports as part of a practicum opportunity. Using secondary data collected by the Fit Family Challenge during the 2011 year, the goals of this thesis were: to assess individual changes; evaluate short-term impact; and describe the community engagement process. Methods: SA Sports collected quantitative and qualitative data during the implementation and evaluation of the FFC program. SA Sports allowed the used of de-identified data to be analyzed to study the aims of this thesis. Results: The program was able to provide families with the knowledge, information, and opportunity to exercise as a family and cook healthier meals. School district coordinators were generally satisfied and illustrated the benefits of a community partnership. An authentic community engagement was present highlighting the importance of communication, collaboration and the sustainability of such partnerships in the community. Conclusion: The success of an obesity program should focus on triggers that initiate behavioral change rather than physiological changes. The evaluation was guided by a community engagement approach, which illustrated the development of new partnerships and the strengthening of other collaborations. Ultimately, the engagement approach empowered the community to identify their own problems and build collaboration, rather than tackling obesity prevention alone.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Pacheco, Gerardo Jesus, "Engaging stakeholders in community-level obesity prevention programming: Evaluation of the Fit Family Challenge" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1520202.