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PLoS One. 2014 Jul 15;9(7):e102242. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102242. eCollection 2014.

Life course impact of school-based promotion of healthy eating and active living to prevent childhood obesity.

Author information

1
School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
2
Department of Pediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Alberta Project Promoting active Living and healthy Eating in Schools (APPLE Schools) is a comprehensive school health program that is proven feasible and effective in preventing obesity among school aged children. To support decision making on expanding this program, evidence on its long-term health and economic impacts is particularly critical. In the present study we estimate the life course impact of the APPLE Schools programs in terms of future body weights and avoided health care costs.

METHOD:

We modeled growth rates of body mass index (BMI) using longitudinal data from the National Population Health Survey collected between 1996-2008. These growth rate characteristics were used to project BMI trajectories for students that attended APPLE Schools and for students who attended control schools (141 randomly selected schools) in the Canadian province of Alberta.

RESULTS:

Throughout the life course, the prevalence of overweight (including obesity) was 1.2% to 2.8% (1.7 on average) less among students attending APPLE Schools relative to their peers attending control schools. The life course prevalence of obesity was 0.4% to 1.4% (0.8% on average) less among APPLE Schools students. If the APPLE Schools program were to be scaled up, the potential cost savings would be $33 to 82 million per year for the province of Alberta, or $150 to 330 million per year for Canada.

CONCLUSIONS:

These projected health and economic benefits seem to support broader implementation of school-based health promotion programs.

PMID:
25025581
PMCID:
PMC4099303
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0102242
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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