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The Balance Project: Bringing Healthy Eating and Active Living to Children’s Environments . Grantees Conference Call November 1, 2007. Children in Balance Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Tufts University . Social Ecological Model.

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The Balance Project:

Bringing Healthy Eating and Active Living to Children’s Environments

Grantees Conference Call

November 1, 2007

Children in Balance

Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Tufts University

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Shape Up Somerville:

Eat Smart. Play Hard.

  • A community-based environmental approach to prevent childhood obesity

  • 2,281 1st – 3rd grade culturally and ethnically diverse children from Somerville and two control communities were recruited into a 2 year research trial

  • Goal: Transform a community and direct social change at the national level

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Multi-level Intervention

  • Community

    • Community Council

    • Local Champions

    • Walking /Pedestrian Trainings

    • City Employee Wellness Campaign

    • Farmers Market

    • Physician and Nurse Training

    • Approved Restaurants

    • Policy Development

    • Annual 5 K Family Fitness Fair

    • Media Placement

  • Before School

    • Breakfast Program

    • Walk to School Campaign

  • School

    • School Food Service

    • Classroom Curriculum

    • Enhanced Recess

    • Policy Development

  • After School

    • After School Curriculum

  • Home

    • Parent Outreach and Education

    • Family Events

    • Parent Nutrition Forums

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City-Wide Involvement

  • Engaged 90 teachers in 100% of 1-3 grade classrooms (N=81)

  • Participated in or conducted 100 community events and 4 parent forums

  • Trained 50 medical professionals

  • Recruited 21 restaurants

  • Reached 811 families through 9 parent newsletters, and 353 community partners through 6 community newsletters 

  • Reached over 20,000 through a monthly media piece (11 months)

  • Recruited all 14 after-school programs

  • Developed community-wide policies to promote

    and sustain change

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We effectively decreased BMI z-score in a group of high risk children through a community-based environmental change intervention. [1]

[1] Economos CD, Hyatt RR, Goldberg JP, Must A, Naumova EN, Collins JJ, Nelson ME. “A Community Intervention Reduces BMI z-Score in Children: Shape Up Somerville First Year Results.” Obesity. (May) 2007;15(5).

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Secondary Outcomes

  • Additional funding to community (ALbD, PEP)

  • Bike racks put in at schools

  • Somerville School’s “Wellness Policy”

  • School Food Service offer unlimited fresh, whole fruit at every breakfast and lunch. A la carte has also been revamped to meet A-list criteria.

  • Mayor Curtatone authorized increased spending on crosswalks throughout the city by three years to be done in thermoplastic material.

  • City employees receive a $200 reimbursement for health club membership.

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  • SUS Coordinator

  • SUS Task Force

  • Food Service changes

  • Implementation of Wellness Policy

  • HEAT Club

  • Shape Up 5k

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Request for Applications


  • CIB seeks to replicate its successful Shape Up Somerville (SUS) childhood obesity prevention project in 3 under-served, urban communities across the country in a 2-year research study that targets 1st-3rd graders and their families.

  • From the RFA process, CIB will select 6 communities that are similar in community readiness.

  • 3 of the selected 6 communities will be randomized to receive the intervention and 3 will be randomized to serve as control communities.

  • CIB will provide the 3 intervention cities with training, tools, and $300,000 over two years.

  • Control communities will receive $10,000 and intervention tools, an on-site training, technical assistance, and the results from this replication effort in Spring 2010.

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Request for Applications

Eligibility Criteria

  • Urban city with a population between 50,000-125,000.

  • Independent government structure (Mayor/City Manager) – not a county or neighborhood.

  • Community must demonstrate racial, ethnic and economic diversity.

  • Established, community-based coalition.

  • Grantee must be a not-for-profit organization.

  • School department cannot outsource its food service department.

  • School department must commit to implementing changes in the schools within the city.

  • School department must commit a professional staff development day.

  • Community must contribute $100,000 or demonstrate its in-kind equivalent over the two-year project.

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Request for Applications

Key Dates

November 15, 2007 – Required Letter of Intent Due

December 17, 2007 – Full Applications Due

January/February 2008 – Key informant interviews and one-day site visits conducted with finalists

March 3, 2008 – Award letters sent to 3 intervention communities and 3 control communities

May 1, 2008 – Budget and workplan due. Hiring of Project Manager underway.