Educational or Curriculum – Environmental Change

The HealthMPowers program

Initiative Description: a three-year, school-wide intervention based on evidence-based guidelines established by the CDC to promote healthy eating and physical activity in schools. Messaging on nutrition and physical activity is integrated daily into curriculum and activities by trained school staff, including classroom teachers, special area teachers, nutrition managers, counselors, and administrators. These messages are supported by educational resources such as classroom exercise DVDs, activity booklets, and lesson plans, which HealthMPowers provides to participating schools. Programs such as “Catch a Teacher Being Healthy” and “Catch a Parent Being Healthy” help to reinforce healthy behaviors among these stakeholders and support them to serve as role models for the children. Yearly school-wide events (e.g., themed assemblies and exhibits) are also used to reinforce the messages of healthy eating and physical activity. A School Health Team (comprising, at a minimum, those school staff participating in the team trainings) is designated to champion the process and monitor progress.

Study Results: Decreased BMI, with the most significant decreases for students overweight or obese at baseline.

Reference: Burke, R. M., Meyer, A., Kay, C., Allensworth, D., & Gazmararian, J. A. (2014). A holistic school-based intervention for improving health-related knowledge, body composition, and fitness in elementary school students: an evaluation of the HealthMPowers program. International Journal Of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 111-26. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-11-78.

Level of Evidence: 3 out of 5 stars Very Good