The child and adolescent trial for cardiovascular health (CATCH)

Russell V. Luepker, Cheryl L. Perry, Voula Osganian, Philip R. Nader, Guy S. Parcel, Elaine J. Stone, Larry S. Webber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health (CATCH) is a field study conducted in elementary schools that was designed to assess the outcomes of health behavior interventions for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Beginning in 1991, third grade students (N = 5106) from ethnically diverse backgrounds in 96 public schools in California, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas were randomized to intervention or control status. Twenty-eight schools participated in a third through fifth grade intervention that included food service modifications, enhanced physical education, and classroom health curricula. An additional 28 schools received these components plus family education. Outcomes were assessed using pre-randomization measures in early third grade and follow-up at the end of fifth grade. At the school level, the two primary endpoints were changes in the fat content of food service lunch offerings and the amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity in the physical education programs. At the individual student level, endpoints included psychosocial factors, measures of eating and physical activity patterns, and physiologic measures. In the intervention school lunches, the percentage of energy intake from fat fell significantly more (from 38.7% to 31.9%) than in control lunches (from 38.9% to 36.2%) (P < 0.001). The intensity of physical activity in CATCH intervention schools was increased significantly compared with the control schools (P < 0.02). Self-reported energy intake from fat among students in the intervention schools was significantly reduced (from 32.7% to 30.3%) compared with the controls (from 32.6% to 32.2%) (P < 0.001). Intervention students reported significantly more daily vigorous physical activity than controls (58.6 vs. 46.5 minutes) (P < 0.003). Blood pressure, body size, and cholesterol measures did not differ significantly between treatment groups. No evidence of deleterious effects of the intervention on growth or development was observed. The CATCH intervention was able to modify the fat content of school lunches, increase daily school physical activity, and improve individual eating patterns and physical activity in children during three school years. Follow-up of this cohort continues. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-534
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research reported in this publication was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (U01-HL-39880, U01-HL-39906, U01-HL-39852, U01-HL-39927, U01-HL-39870).

Funding Information:
This paper was delivered at the October 23–25, 1997, conference “The Determination, Treatment, and Prevention of Obesity,” which was sponsored by the Institute of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health and School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and School of Medicine, East Carolina University, in cooperation with the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, and Eli Lilly & Company.

Copyright 2004 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam. All rights reserved.


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • School health
  • Smoking
  • Youth


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