Document Type : Research Article (s)


Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management, University of Mississippi, University, MS, USA


Background and Objectives: Although Mississippi is making modest progress in childhood obesity prevention and reduction; most of the recent benefits are seen in white children. The purpose of Eating good and moving like we should (EGMLWS), a school-based intervention was to create a successful program to prevent and reduce childhood obesity in the Mississippi Delta, among mostly African American students.
Methods: The program worked with third grades in 7 schools. It provided curricula, started school gardens, and school menu consultation. BMI s-scores were calculated and Fitnessgram parameters were measured, including 20-m progressive aerobic cardiovascular endurance run (PACER) and back-saver sit-and-reach (BSSR). Demographic and beginning heights and weights were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Pre- and post-intervention BMI z-scores and Fitnessgram scores for each school were compared using paired t-test.
Results: Mean BMI z-scores were significantly lowered in 2 schools, not changed in 4 schools and increased in 2, although all schools had individuals with decreased BMI z-scores. PACER scores increased in 5 of 7 schools while sit-and-reach left and right scores increased in 5 and 6 of the 7 schools, respectively. All schools improved in at least one PACER measure, and 3 schools improved across all measures.
Conclusions: After one school year in EGMLWS, north MS Delta third graders improved in both the PACER and sit-and-reach components of Fitnessgram assessment. BMI z-scores were lowered in 2 schools and remained the same in 4 schools. Also, BMI-z-scores did not rise over all schools and there was some lowering of BMI z-scores in every school, which was encouragement that school-based interventions can favorably impact BMI and fitness in primarily African American populations.