Poverty-Related Factors Associated with Obesity Prevention Policies in Utah Secondary Schools

Marilyn S. Nanney, Claudia Bohner, Michael Friedrichs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

To address the childhood obesity epidemic, numerous national agencies have outlined specific school policy recommendations for nutrition and physical activity. The extent to which current policies differ by socioeconomic status and geographic location is yet to be determined. This cross-sectional study examined select school nutrition and physical activity policies by markers for poverty among 209 middle and high schools in Utah (82% response rate). The results show that students' opportunities to establish healthful dietary and physical activity patterns differed by economic circumstances and geographic location. Schools with the highest percentage of free and reduced-price lunch enrollment and schools in rural areas were both less likely to offer a variety of healthful foods outside of the school meal program (ie, competitive foods and drinks) and intramural activities or physical activity clubs. Schools with highest free and reduced-price lunch enrollment were more likely to allow the purchase of unhealthful snacks during lunchtimes than schools with low enrollment (28.4% vs 7.6%, P=0.01). Schools in rural communities were less likely to promote walking and bicycling to school compared with other locations (47.4% rural vs 67.1% urban and 63.6% suburban, P=0.06). Current school policies related to nutrition and physical activity may not be conducive to reducing the childhood overweight problem among children attending schools in areas with increased risk factors due to poverty or rural location in Utah.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1210-1215
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Volume108
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

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