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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

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

Joey C Eisenmann12*, Katherine Alaimo3, Karin Pfeiffer1, Hye-Jin Paek4, Joseph J Carlson5, Heather Hayes1, Tracy Thompson6, Deanne Kelleher3, Hyun J Oh4, Julie Orth3, Sue Randall6, Kellie Mayfield3 and Denise Holmes6

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

2 The Healthy Weight Center, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, Grand Rapids, MI, USA

3 Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

4 Department of Advertising, Public Relations, and Retailing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

5 Division of Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

6 Institute for Health Care Studies, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:607  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-607

Published: 29 July 2011

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

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