CATCH – Coordinated Approach to Child Health: Curriculum & Training

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

A Prevention Research Center Tool Showing Evidence of Effectiveness

children playing hula hoop


More than 10,000 schools and communities in the United States and abroad have adopted CATCH, a school health program that focuses on coordinating the efforts of teachers, school staff, and the community.1 CATCH promotes physical activity and healthy food choices for children from preschool through eighth grade and offers additional modules in sun safety and e-cigarette prevention. Scientific studies have shown CATCH to be effective, which led to Texas state legislation requiring coordinated school health programs.2 The program reinforces health concepts through four combined parts:

  • Classroom instruction
  • Physical education lessons
  • School nutrition services
  • Family events

The program also includes the CATCH Coordination Kit which provides a step-by-step guide for increasing collaboration between school administrators, teachers, nutrition staff, parents, and community constituents to deliver coordinated health messages across children’s learning environments and after-school settings. Many of the program lessons and resources are available online via the Digital CATCH platform. One to 3-day on-site workshops are held to train faculty and staff in the CATCH program.


More than 130 peer-reviewed scientific publications support the effectiveness of CATCH in reducing overweight and obesity. Compared with other childhood obesity interventions, CATCH is significantly more cost-effective.3 CATCH has an even greater impact when combined with community participation4 and Spanish translation5 in schools with many low-income students. One follow-up study showed that eighth grade students maintained higher levels of physical activity and better eating habits, which they began 3 years earlier as a part of the CATCH program.6

Download the printable PDF version [PDF – 3 MB] of the web page

  1. CATCH Global Foundation. CATCH About website. Accessed February 1, 2017.
  2. Centers for Disease Control. The state of CDC: 2007 website. [PDF – 28MB]. Accessed January 27, 2017.
  3. Cawley J. The economics of childhood obesity. Health Affairs. 2010;29(3):364–371.
  4. Hoelscher DM, Springer AE, Ranjit N, et al. Reductions in child obesity among disadvantaged school children with community involvement: the Travis County CATCH Trial. Obesity. 2010;18(S1):S36–S44.
  5. Coleman KJ, Tiller CL, Sanchez MA, et al. Prevention of the epidemic increase in child risk of overweight in low-income schools: the El Paso coordinated approach to child health. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:217–222.
  6. Nader P, Stone EJ, Lytle LA, et al. Three year maintenance of improved diet and physical activity: the CATCH cohort. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999;153(7):695–704.