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Shape it up: a school-based education program to promote healthy eating and exercise developed by a health plan in collaboration with a college of pharmacy

Shape it up: a school-based education program to promote healthy eating and exercise developed by a health plan in collaboration with a college of pharmacy

Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy 15(5): 403-413

Childhood obesity is an intensifying public health problem that affects millions of U.S. children. Obesity leads to the development of health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, gastroesophogeal reflux disease, depression, and hypercholesterolemia. The increasing prevalence of these conditions among U.S. children is reflected in increased use of medical services and medications in both childhood and adulthood. To assess the preliminary results of the effectiveness of Shape It Up, a school-based obesity prevention program developed and implemented by the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University in conjunction with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, with the goal of using these results to help improve the program. Program activities and materials included an interactive workshop, an activity book and family guide, posters, a website, and educational field days. The Shape It Up program not only delivered a positive message about eating healthful food but also modeled fruit and vegetable consumption during the interactive workshops and distributed fruits and vegetables as prizes. During the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 school years, Shape It Up was delivered to 89,736 children at 257 New Jersey elementary schools. Pre-intervention and post-intervention surveys were administered to a convenience sample of 6,421 students at 49 participating schools. Attitudes were measured using a 6-point Likert-type graphic face scale (smiles positive, frowns negative) and analyzed for statistical significance of pre-intervention to post-intervention change using paired t-tests. After exposure to the Shape It Up program, children reported higher levels of knowledge (P < 0.001) and positive attitudes (P < 0.001) about healthy eating and exercise compared with the baseline survey results. In a question to gauge satisfaction with the program, 54.9% of children surveyed gave the program the highest possible rating, and overall, 91.7% selected 1 of the 3 response categories toward the positive end of the 6-point scale. Shape It Up appears to have had a positive impact on children's knowledge and attitudes toward exercise and healthy eating. Additional research employing a comparison group is needed to assess the program's impact.

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Accession: 055751375

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PMID: 19496637

DOI: 10.18553/jmcp.2009.15.5.403

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