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Promising Interventions for Schools

Interventions showing meaningful, plausible positive health or behavioral outcomes, and policy, environment, or economic impacts based on evidence from published or unpublished evaluation studies or exploratory evaluations.

  • Program name: Just for Kids! Teen Mentoring Curriculum
    Change type: Individual
    Description: An eight-week intervention conducted by Ohio State University researchers in Appalachian elementary schools addressed the roles of exercise and food in promoting health, moderation in sedentary activities, and encouraged children to set reasonable behavioral goals. The program compared the effects of two curriculum delivery methods: adult teacher in a classroom and individual teen mentoring. All instructors taught lessons from a program called “Just for Kids!” that was developed by the University of California, San Francisco.
    Demonstrated Success
    • Tested in rural setting
    • Audiences tested: 160 schoolchildren in the third and fourth grades
    • Teen-mentored group showed a greater increase in physical activity behavior and a marginal decrease in BMI and diastolic blood pressure post-intervention
    • The adult teacher group did not demonstrate any improved health outcomes at post intervention
  • Program name: KIDPOWER
    Change type: Individual
    Description: A standardized medical nutrition therapy, known as KIDPOWER, was delivered by registered dietitians to overweight children in 9 primary care practices in a rural community in North Carolina.
    Demonstrated Success
    • Tested in rural setting
    • Audiences tested: Children and adolescents aged 2-20 years
    • Increased vegetable and fruit servings per day
    • Decreased number of times eating out per week
    • Decreased TV time both on weekdays and weekends
    • Significantly decreased intake of soda and sugar sweetened beverages
  • Program name: Physical Activity and Nutrition for Health
    Change type: Individual
    Description: This 20-week nutrition and exercise program is a school-based program for elementary school children. The program's curriculum includes a family support component and guided activities to be completed in the home that enable children to practice behavior modification skills. Specifically, the curriculum addresses risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
    Demonstrated Success
    • Tested in rural setting
    • Audiences tested: Teachers, parents, and 3rd-grade students from six elementary schools
    • Baseline and post-test measures: height, weight, BMI, body fat, blood cholesterol, time to run 1 mile, exercise/ nutrition knowledge, 24-hour dietary recall
    • At post-test (8 months), intervention schools had lower fat intake, higher exercise levels, and increased nutrition knowledge
  • Program name: School-based Healthy Lifestyle Intervention - based on Coordinated School Health Program
    Change type: Individual
    Description: A comprehensive school-based healthy lifestyle intervention was implemented in 4 rural elementary schools in Kentucky. The intervention included 4 goals: improving physical education, health education, family/community involvement, and school wellness policies. Children's physical activity was assessed by pedometer, and nutrition was assessed by a previous day recall survey.
    Demonstrated Success
    • Tested in rural setting
    • Audiences tested: Elementary school students
    • Significant effects on increasing the percentages of children meeting physical activity and nutrition recommendations
    • Showed increasing physical activity and nutrition levels over time
  • Program name: Sodabriety
    Change type: Individual
    Description: The purpose of this intervention was to decrease soda consumption among students. The program used a Teen Advisory Council (TAC) to design and implement the program within 2 high schools. Each TAC consisted of 2 teachers and 2 students from each grades 9-12 in school. Each TAC implemented a student-design and student-led intervention, which included: a tailored promotional campaign including a “commercial,” flyers, T-shirts, and posters to promote the 30-Day Challenge. Vending machine surveys were completed.
    Demonstrated Success
    • Tested in rural setting
    • Audiences tested: High school students
    • Immediately post intervention, majority of students (65%) consumed sugar-sweetened beverages fewer than three days per week
    • One month after the intervention, nearly 60% of the students still consumed sugar-sweetened beverages fewer than three days per week
  • Program name: TEAM Mississippi Project
    Change type: Individual
    Description: A healthy lifestyle school-based obesity intervention in a rural southern community that incorporated elements from established school-based programs including Pathways and CATCH. Intervention included family and school-based nutritional and physical activity events. The children's nutritional knowledge, number of different physical activities, fitness level, dietary habits, waist circumference, BMI percentile, and percentage body fat were measured pre- and post-intervention.
    Demonstrated Success
    • Tested in rural setting
    • Audiences tested: 450 schoolchildren from 6 to 10 years of age
    • Statistically significant decline in percentage of body fat
    • Reported engaging in significantly more physical activities
    • Showed improvement in their dietary fat intake
  • Program name: West Virginia School Nutrition Standards
    Change type: Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE)
    Description: West Virginia Board of Education Policy 4321.1, a practice-tested policy, with a primary focuses on using changes in school district policies and practices to improving school food environments through changes in school district policies and practices. The policy is meant to improve the nutritional quality of foods in schools and reduce marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to students. It went into effect in July 2008 and affects all schools in the state (pre-K through 12th grade).
    Demonstrated Success
    • Tested in rural setting
    • Audiences tested: 1,500 parents, 420 students, 53 food service directors, 53 county school superintendents, 601 principals, and 231 school nurses surveyed
    • Evaluation conducted by West Virginia University Health Sciences Center for the state Office of Child Nutrition
    • Year One findings: positive changes in student food/ beverage consumption
  • Program name: Youth Fit For Life
    Change type: Individual
    Description: A 12-week after-school physical activity program for children aged 5-12 years old, taught by trained counselors (participants met three times per week). Includes physical activity, nutrition education, and behavioral life skills components. This program is an example of enhanced school-based physical education programs, which are recommended by the Community Guide.
    Demonstrated Success
    • Audience tested: 165 African American and Caucasian children aged 9-12 years old
    • Pre-/post-study compared the effects of intervention group to unstructured activity group
    • Increased voluntary physical activity
    • Increased physical self-concept