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Project FIT: Rationale, design and baseline characteristics of a school- and community-based intervention to address physical activity and healthy eating among low-income elementary school children

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Author(s): Eisenmann Joey | Alaimo Katherine | Pfeiffer Karin | Paek Hye-Jin | Carlson Joseph | Hayes Heather | Thompson Tracy | Kelleher Deanne | Oh Hyun | Orth Julie | Randall Sue | Mayfield Kellie | Holmes Denise

Journal: BMC Public Health
ISSN 1471-2458

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 607;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: obesity | school intervention | exercise | nutrition | social marketing

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background This paper describes Project FIT, a collaboration between the public school system, local health systems, physicians, neighborhood associations, businesses, faith-based leaders, community agencies and university researchers to develop a multi-faceted approach to promote physical activity and healthy eating toward the general goal of preventing and reducing childhood obesity among children in Grand Rapids, MI, USA. Methods/design There are four overall components to Project FIT: school, community, social marketing, and school staff wellness - all that focus on: 1) increasing access to safe and affordable physical activity and nutrition education opportunities in the schools and surrounding neighborhoods; 2) improving the affordability and availability of nutritious food in the neighborhoods surrounding the schools; 3) improving the knowledge, self-efficacy, attitudes and behaviors regarding nutrition and physical activity among school staff, parents and students; 4) impacting the 'culture' of the schools and neighborhoods to incorporate healthful values; and 5) encouraging dialogue among all community partners to leverage existing programs and introduce new ones. Discussion At baseline, there was generally low physical activity (70% do not meet recommendation of 60 minutes per day), excessive screen time (75% do not meet recommendation of < 2 hours per day), and low intake of vegetables and whole grains and high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, French fries and chips and desserts as well as a high prevalence of overweight and obesity (48.5% including 6% with severe obesity) among low income, primarily Hispanic and African American 3rd-5th grade children (n = 403). Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01385046
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