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A School-Based Intervention Using Health Mentors to Address Childhood Obesity by Strengthening School Wellness Policy


The Team KiPOW! intervention is based on 5 socio-ecological levels: 1) health policy (federal school lunch policy [National School Lunch Program, Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, the District of Columbia Healthy Schools Act 2010] and the US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations); 2) community (collaboration among medical schools, universities, children’s hospitals, and school boards); 3) schools (modeling healthy habits in school); 4) child–family interaction (parent newsletters/educational materials and family picnics); and 5) child (health education, shared meals and physical activity minutes).

Figure 1.

Team KiPOW! model. Components of the Team KiPOW! intervention and its multiple levels of interaction. KiPOW! is based on a socio-ecological model of health promotion and was developed with existing health policy in mind. Abbreviations: DCHSA, District of Columbia Healthy Schools Act 2010; HHFKA, Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act; NSLP, National School Lunch Program; USPSTF, US Preventive Services Task Force.

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The KiPOW! intervention timeline began with project planning, consisting of grant applications, health mentor recruitment, health mentor training, and meeting with the local department of education. Next was pre-intervention data collection at week zero of the intervention, followed by implementation of the intervention, which consisted of 5 or 10 sessions at weekly intervals, health lessons, modeling healthy eating with mentors at lunch, active play at recess, and health newsletters sent to parents. The intervention ended at week 5 or week 10 followed by post-intervention data collection. The final event was a school picnic with students and their families.

Figure 2.

Team KiPOW! intervention timeline. Each Team KiPOW! intervention consisted of a project planning phase, pre-intervention data collection, the intervention itself, postintervention data collection, and a school picnic with students and their families. Data collection consisted of height, weight, blood pressure measurements, and possibly fitness assessment and behavior survey, depending on the session.

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The KiPOW! session schedule consisted of a 15-minute mentor team meeting, followed by a 25-minute health education lesson, 25 minutes for lunch with students, and 30 minutes of active play.

Figure 3.

Team KiPOW! session schedule. Each Team KiPOW! weekly intervention session consisted of these 4 components; however, the order of eating lunch and active play differed per location.

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Page last reviewed: November 21, 2019