Examining the Need for Obesity Prevention Programs in Schools


A phenomenological study was conducted to explore the need for a school-based obesity prevention program in rural elementary schools by principals. The face-to-face interviews were various of principals were asked questions guiding the study on demographics, “if the leaders perceived the need for school-based programs, aspects of a prevention program that school officials feel are essential to conducting a successful and effective program, the barriers school leaders encounter in conducting an obesity prevention program” (Armstrong, Harris, & Msengi, 2017, p. 1). They administered the survey to eight rural principals and “four principals were male and four were female; the principals have served in the capacity as a principal from two to nine years” (Armstrong, Harris, & Msengi, 2017, p. 3).

They presented the findings based on the research questions. “All the principals believed that the program designed to prevent student obesity would show an important by-product- that of improving academic performance” (Armstrong, Harris, & Msengi, 2017, p. 5). Result from this study showed that the principals believe that implementing a school-based obesity program would help student health wise and academically. “Evidence for these needs is consistent with the findings of Ogden, Carroll, Kit, and Flegal (2014), that the school is an ideal setting to incorporate childhood obesity prevention measures” (Armstrong, Harris, & Msengi, 2017, p. 7). A concern discussed by school officials were the children going home and still practicing poor eating habits but this study discussed including the parents in the programs to ensure healthy eating practices are implemented in the home. Incorporating the parents proved to be more effective in reducing the obesity rates among school-aged children through encouraging the children to practice healthy eating habits in the home. Because of this study, school officials had to revise the school menu served to children in the cafeteria to remove unhealthy choices to measure the effective of the school-based intervention program. School leaders eliminated unhealthy food and beverages choices inconsistent with the healthy eating model of the school-based intervention program. “ Findings in this study suggest the conclusion that rural principals believe school-based childhood obesity programs have the potential to decrease prevalence of obesity among children and contribute to improving students academic” (Armstrong, Harris, & Msengi, 2017, p. 8). When examining the results from the interviews it showed that the school based obesity prevention program is the key to improving health and academics for school-aged children. “We recommend that school leaders implement obesity prevention programs tailored to the needs of students on their campus” (Armstrong, Harris, & Msengi, 2017, p. 8). This study can be assess though Completing a simple needs assessment of the student to develop either a curriculum based on the needs of each individual school.

Another study conducted at the Children’s Obesity Clinic, Department of Pediatrics from “October 2012 to March 2015, which comprised a physical examination and provided a detailed medical history, including interview-reported information on physical activity and in activity” (Schnurr, Bech, & Nielsen, 2017, p. 798). To measure the overall success of this study each participant was weighed and a one hour interview was conducted with each participant and a parent/guardian which help researchers gather information about the routine. An accelerometer-assessed physical activity which each participant was given at the time of enrollment to track daily activity. “The processing of physical activity data was conducted using ActiLife version 6.13.1, continuous 24-hour accelerometer data was recorded” (Schnurr, Bech, & Nielsen, 2017, p. 800). Participants were required to wear ActiLife physical activity monitor for 4 days a week and one day on the week for a total of 10 hours each day to measure their physical activity. Data was analyzed using the “R software (Version 3.20; Team; 2016). P values of less than 0.5 were considered significant” (Schnurr, Bech, & Nielsen, 2017, p. 801). Demographic information was calculated using the mean, median or frequencies for this study. “For comparison of self reported and accelerometer-assessed PA data, we assessed data for normality of distribution for each of the variables. Accelerometer-assessed PA was normally distributed, whereas the PAS was right skewed”(Schnurr, Bech, & Nielsen, 2017, p. 801). Result from this study showed that children and adolescents enrolled in a multidisciplinary childhood obesity treatment, did not meet the certain physical activity recommendations.

“First it is generally observed that adolescents with overweight or obesity are less active than their normal weight peers, and physical activity differences by weight status. Second, the number of children filling physical activity recommendations may generally be underestimated when using accelerometers, since these physical activity recommendations were based on research findings derived from self-reported physical activity that tend to overestimate activity where time is limited” ”(Schnurr, Bech, & Nielsen, 2017, p. 806).

The use of physical activity can help control being overweight and obesity. When examining results the study recommends professional supporting physical activity to help address obesity.

“The main goal of this study was to compare self-reported and objectively assessed physical activity in children and adolescents with overweight or obesity in a pediatric setting where time is limited and where a questionnaire-based evaluation is the most cost-effective method to estimate physical activity levels” (Schnurr, Bech, & Nielsen, 2017, p. 805).

This study collected and analyzing data on each individual’s physical activity from self reporting in addressing and eliminating obesity in a controlled pediatric setting.


  • Armstrong, T. D., Msengi, C., & Harris, S. (2017, Summer). The Need for a School-based Student Obesity Prevention Program Perceptions of Rural Elementary Principals. Academic Journal, 38(1), 1-10. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&sid=0c5d4569-b43e-4caa-a4cf-d0a823f38d7a%40sessionmgr101
  • Schnurr, T. M., Bech, B., & Nielsen, T. R. H., Anderson, I. G., Hijorth, M.F., Adaahl, Meete, Fonvig, C.E., Hansen, T., Holm., Jens- Christian (2017, Fall). Self-Reported Versus Accelerometer Assessed Daily Physical Activity in Childhood Obesity Treatment. Academic Journal, 124(4), 795-811.Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=16&sid=8ef3095a-1553-42b3-a7ee-e4b74b01d867%40sessionmgr4006