CATCH tackles kids' obesity, diabetes

I want to introduce you to the CATCH - Coordinated Approach to Child Health - program and offer to serve as a resource for schools and communities devising strategies to address the youth overweight crisis.

CATCH is being used around the country as an obesity- and diabetes-prevention initiative in YMCAs and as part of Boys & Girls Club after-school programs.

It also serves as a foundation for any school districts drafting wellness policies for the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act.

CATCH is an evidence-based, coordinated school health program which builds an alliance of parents, teachers, child nutrition personnel, school staff, and community partners to teach children and their families how to be healthy for a lifetime.

The four CATCH components are: Go for Health Classroom Curriculum, CATCH Physical Education, Eat Smart School Food Service Nutrition Guide and family Home Team activities.

These reinforce positive healthy behaviors throughout a child's day and make it clear that good health and learning go hand in hand.

CATCH began as a research study funded by the Heart Lung and Blood Institute in 1991 to determine the effectiveness of school physical education and health programs in improving students' dietary- and activity-related behaviors.

The field trial involved over 5,000 ethnically diverse students in 96 schools from four different regions in the United States.

To date, it remains the largest and most rigorous school-based health promotion trial ever conducted.

The CATCH program today is built upon the sturdy foundation of that original intervention program.

Flaghouse, the New Jersey-based CATCH publisher, in partnership with nationally known physical education and health educators, many of whom are original members of the CATCH research team, continues to develop the CATCH materials and supporting products.

CATCH has expanded to include physical education for grades K-8, CATCH Kids Club for afterschool, diabetes education, tobacco avoidance and classroom health for grades K-5.

The research proves it - CATCH increases physical activity levels, and is the only school intervention proven to affect study body-mass index.

n Contact Kathy Chichester, National CATCH coordinator, at (201) 329-7518.


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