Travis County CATCH Elementary School Project (Travis County CATCH)

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The Travis County CATCH Elementary School Project (Travis County CATCH) was a school-based health promotion initiative aimed at promoting physical activity, healthy eating and obesity prevention among elementary school students living in Travis County Texas. CATCH Elementary activities were rooted in a coordinated school health framework, and harnessed the resources of multiple stakeholders in multiple settings within the school context to promote child health. The project, funded by a grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, took place between September 2006 and July 2010 in four school districts and 36 public elementary schools in Travis County.

The Travis County CATCH Elementary School Project (Travis County CATCH) was a school-based health promotion initiative aimed at promoting physical activity, healthy eating and obesity prevention among elementary school students living in Travis County Texas. The project took place between September 2006 and July 2010 in four school districts and 36 public elementary schools in central Texas. The CATCH Elementary School model is rooted in a coordinated school health framework aimed at harnessing various stakeholders (e.g., administrators, teachers, PE specialists, cafeteria staff, parents & students) and settings (classroom, PE, food service, school events) within the school context for the promotion of child health. Three program support conditions were implemented: Basic (n =5; training and curriculum only) (comparison group), Enhanced (n = 15; training, curriculum, PA equipment, monthly visits), and Enhanced Plus Community. A paper detailing obesity outcomes under each of these three conditions was published in 2010, in the Journal “Obesity”

 

Who conducted it?

Funded by a generous grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Travi County CATCH was led by researchers at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living based at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin. The project was conducted in collaboration with school district leaders, classroom, PE teachers and other school faculty, and parents and community leaders from central Texas. Dr. Deanna Hoelscher from the UTHealth School of Health served as the Principal Investigator. Co-Investigators included: Drs. Steven Kelder, Andrew Springer, Cheryl Perry, Alexandra van den Berg, Melissa Harrell and Nalini Ranjit from the UTHealth School of Public Health. Project staff included Joey Walker, MPH, Project Director; Joanne Delk, MS, Measurement Coordinator; Peter Cribb, MEd, Jim DeLine, Marty Evans, MS and Alejandra Gonzalez, research assistants.

 

What were the program components, materials and activities?

Components: Six core components delivered CATCH program activities: CATCH PE, CATCH Classroom, CATCH Eat Smart Cafeteria, CATCH Family, CATCH Social Marketing, and the CATCH Wellness Team chaired by a local onsite CATCH Champion. At each school, CATCH Champions and CATCH Teams were established to coordinate actions across the school setting. Core components were designed with the aim of reinforcing messaging around physical activity and healthy eating as well as directly shaping the school environment to deliver healthier food options and physical activity opportunities to students. 

Materials: Materials provided to schools included CATCH component-specific curricula (CATCH PE Activity Box; CATCH Eat Smart Cafeteria Guidebook; CATCH Classroom lessons; Parent & Faculty newsletters); CATCH banners/posters; and PA equipment.

Implementation Activities: To support CATCH implementation, training and “best practice” workshops were provided to schools throughout the grant period, in addition to direct support for faculty presentations. CATCH Teams/Champions were supported through monthly communications and visits from our CATCH facilitators.

 

What kind of information was collected as part of Travis County CATCH?

Population: Elementary School students living in Travis County

Study Design: A serial cross-sectional design was employed to evaluate the effect of three program support conditions on student energy-balance behaviors: Basic (n =5; training and curriculum only) (comparison group), Enhanced (n = 15; training, curriculum, PA equipment, monthly visits), and Enhanced Plus Community (enhanced training and best practices workshops, increased support visits, resource guides). The study sample consisted of serial cross-sectional samples of 4th grade students (primary outcome evaluation sample) and 3rd-5th grade students (PE evaluation sample) who were selected and measured each year.

Measures: Outcome evaluation measures included a CATCH SPAN questionnaire comprised of self-reported measures on dietary behaviors and physical activity; anthropometric measures of height and weight; and structured observations of physical activity engagement using SOFIT.

  • The CATCH SPAN Questionnaire was administered annually from 2006-2010 to 4th graders in all schools. In 2009 and 2010, additional questions related to the Marathon Kids program were added to the CATCH SPAN Questionnaire. Anthropometric Measures of Height and Weight were obtained from these students at the time of each questionnaire administration. Sample size for each year of administration of the questionnaire and anthropometric measures are detailed in the table below

Sample Size:

Questionnaire and Height & Weight Measures 

Measurement Period  Frequency
Baseline 2006 1384
Spring 2007 1326
Spring 2008 1394
Spring 2009 2003
Spring 2010 2126
    • Structured Observations of School Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) measures were obtained from  3rd-5th graders during PE Class.

    • Process measures included interviews with school CATCH Champions; and a School Faculty survey. Details and instruments are available upon inquiry. 

    Process measures included interviews with school CATCH Champions; and a School Faculty survey. Details and instruments are available upon inquiry. 

    Details on the SOFIT measurement protocol used are available at http://activelivingresearch.org/sofit-system-observing-fitness-instruction-time. The CATCH SPAN Questionnaire is not copyrighted and may be used without written permission from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at the UTHealth School of Public Health. We ask that the Travis County CATCH Project is cited when using our data or measures (see publications below for authors).

    Population: Elementary School students living in Travis County

    • CATCH SPAN Questionnaire: 4th graders
    • Anthropometric Measures of Height and Weight: 4th graders
    • Structured Observations of School Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT/PE Class): 3rd-5th graders

     

    CATCH SPAN Questionnaire:

    *Note: In 2009 and 2010, we included additional questions related to the Marathon Kids program.

    4th Grade

    4th Grade

    2006-2008

    English 

    Spanish

    2009

    English 

    Spanish

    2010

    English

    Spanish

     

    Details on the SOFIT measurement protocol used are available at http://activelivingresearch.org/sofit-system-observing-fitness-instruction-time

     

    General information about use of the CATCH SPAN Questionnaire:

    • The CATCH SPAN Questionnaire is not copyrighted and may be used without written permission from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at the UTHealth School of Public Health.
    • We ask that the Travis County CATCH Project is cited when using our data or measures (see publications below for authors).