Submitted to: Journal of Pediatrics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/9/2007
Publication Date: 11/2/2007
Citation: Bush, C.L., Pittman, S., McKay, S., Ortiz, T., Wong, W.W., Klish, W.J. 2007. Park-based obesity intervention program for inner-city minority children. Journal of Pediatrics. 151(5):513-517. Interpretive Summary: In a survey completed in 2001 in the Houston Independent School District, approximately 26% of minority children were found to be obese. To combat the prevalence of obesity among minority children, Texas Children’s Hospital, in partnership with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and the Metropolitan Transit Authority, tested the effectiveness of a 6-week, city park-based program. Project KidFIT was designed to prevent obesity among minority children in Houston, Texas. It consisted of physical fitness and nutrition lessons to promote healthy lifestyle, and a total of 120 children participated in the program. At the end of the 6-week program, decreases in body weight and body mass index along with significant increases in muscle strength, flexibility, and agility were reported among the overweight and obese children. The results suggest that a city park-based program with strong community support might be effective in reducing obesity among minority children.
Technical Abstract: Our objective was to assess an intervention strategy - a 6-week obesity intervention program, Project KidFIT, at 3 Houston, TX, park centers - to address the obesity epidemic in minority children. Project KidFIT is a physical fitness and nutrition education program aimed at promoting the benefits of physical activity and improving nutrition knowledge in overweight (body mass index [BMI] > or = 95th percentile) minority children. A total of 120 minority children (77 boys and 43 girls; mean age, 10.1 years) were enrolled in the program. Approximately 71% of these children were at risk of overweight (BMI > or = 85th percentile), and 54% were overweight. Decreases in body weight (0.3 +/- 0.2 kg [mean +/- standard error]) and BMI (0.1 +/- 0.1 kg/m2) were detected in the overweight children, whereas increases in body weight (0.4 +/- 0.1 kg) and BMI (0.2 +/- 0.1 kg/m2) were observed in the children with normal body weight (BMI < 85th percentile but > 5th percentile). Significant improvements (P < .05) in flexibility, muscular endurance, and muscular strength were detected in all children, regardless of weight status. The findings suggest that the city park-based KidFIT program might be effective at promoting stabilization for body weight and BMI and improving physical activity performance and nutrition knowledge in overweight minority children.