Program

Jun 24, 2009

OVERVIEW

This school-based intervention is designed to prevent
obesity through the reduction of child television viewing. In an evaluation of
the program, each of two participating schools was randomly assigned to have its
students either receive the intervention or to a no-treatment control group.
Results indicated that children in the intervention group improved significantly
more on most of the body composition indicators relative to children in the
control group. Children receiving the intervention also viewed significantly
less television and ate significantly fewer meals in front of the television
than children in the control group. However, the two groups of children did not
differ on measures of physical fitness or nutrition.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: 3rd and 4th
grade children.

This school-based, obesity prevention program encourages
children to watch less television. It is implemented during 18, 30 to 50 minute
sessions, over the course of the school year. The curriculum encourages
children to monitor, self-report, and reduce their television, videotape, and
video game use. The program then provides the children with a “turnoff”
challenge, which encourages the children to not watch television and videotapes
and to not play video games for a span of ten days. Following the challenge,
children are encouraged to allow themselves a maximum of seven hours a week
engaging in these modes of entertainment. Later lessons teach children to
become advocates for reducing media use. Parents also receive newsletters
designed to assist them in helping their children stay within the media usage
budget.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Robinson, T. N. (1999). Reducing children’s television
viewing to prevent obesity: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the
American Medical Association, 282
(16), 1561-1567.

Evaluated population: 198 third- and fourth-grade
children from two elementary schools in San Jose, California served as the
sample for this evaluation.

Approach: Each school was randomly assigned to the
intervention or to a no-treatment control group. Children in the intervention
group received the program curriculum as part of their daily classroom
instruction. The program was delivered over the course of one year. At
pre-test and post-test, children from intervention and control schools were
assessed on indicators of body composition, physical activity, and nutrition.

Results:

Body composition.Children receiving the
intervention experienced significantly greater improvements between baseline and
post-test on most measures of body composition compared to children in the
control group, including BMI, skinfold thickness, waist circumference, and
waist-to-hip ratio. There were no significant differences between groups on
measures of waist circumference.

Physical activity.For physical activity
indicators, children and parent report indicated that children receiving the
intervention watched significantly less television than children in the control
group. Children in the intervention also reported spending less time playing
video games than those in the control group. Also, children and parents from
the intervention reported significantly lower rates of dining in front of the
television. There were no differences across groups on child or parent reports
of sedentary behavior or on parent reports of child physical activity.
Additionally, children in the intervention and control groups did not differ on
tests of physical fitness. Finally, children did not differ across groups on
measures of snacking in front of the television.

Nutrition.There were no differences across groups
on child report of consumption of high-fat foods or highly advertised foods.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Robinson, T. N. (1999). Reducing children’s television
viewing to prevent obesity: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the
American Medical Association, 282
(16), 1561-1567.

Keywords: Elementary, Co-Ed, School-Based, Parent
Training, Parent or Family Component, Skills Training, Nutrition, Health Status/Conditions, Physical Activity, Weight, Obesity

Program information last updated on 6/24/09.