The nationwide prevalence of childhood obesity has grown at alarming rates over the past two decades. And it is no different for those of us here in Linn and Lincoln counties. According to the latest Community Health Assessments (2012 Linn, 2014 Lincoln), 26.99 percent of Linn County and 25.54 percent of Lincoln County youth (ages 0 – 17) can be classified as obese.
Local health care providers, educators, and community service leaders turned their attention to this issue, and selected CATCH as an evidence-based program to educate and influence the children in our community. In 2012, Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital received a three-year $444,334 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to implement the CATCH program.
CATCH is a Coordinated Approach to Child Health; the name says it all. CATCH transforms a child’s environment, culture and society by coordinating child health efforts across all aspects of the educational experience: classroom, food services, physical education, and family. CATCH adds healthy eating and physical activity to the school environment and drives the message home to parents through family and community outreach. Teachers like CATCH because it gives them proven expert guidance. Kids embrace CATCH because it’s fun! When schools embrace CATCH, and they fully implement it, it works in the fight against childhood obesity. CATCH reaches preschool through middle school aged children and teaches healthy habits for a lifetime.
CATCH is an affordable evidence-based program. Over 20 years of research have gone into the CATCH program, and it is recommended by the National Institutes of Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and many other school and health organizations. CATCH has been proven to reverse childhood obesity for a cost of less than $10 per child per year. Adopted by more than 8,500 schools in the United States and abroad, it is the most widespread coordinated school health program in the world.
Partnering with CATCH was the obvious choice
- CATCH is the best program proven to reduce child obesity. There is no other program that has the 20 years of evidence and research that CATCH does
- Of all the published research, CATCH is also the most economical solution; found to be the most cost-effective way to prevent child obesity
- CATCH is unique in that it coordinates healthy messages throughout the community, and it was designed and proven to work this way. In the school, through classroom, cafeteria, and physical education; in after-school and early childhood centers; community partners and health agencies, all integrating CATCH related messages, and reinforcing healthy behaviors
- CATCH changes school, early childhood and after school environments. You can see that health and wellness are part of the everyday culture. Teachers, students, staff, administration all participate, and together make CATCH work
- CATCH students know the value of good nutrition and physical activity. In fact, their healthy behaviors have been proven to last even three years after their CATCH lessons have ended. These kids are more likely to be healthy adults
- The CATCH model is flexible and sustainable. CATCH implementations are working in large urban and small rural communities all over North America
Research to Practice
CATCH research began in the late 1980s, funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute through a collaborative effort by University of California at San Diego, University of Minnesota, Tulane University and The University of Texas-School of Public Health. CATCH research was aimed at developing an elementary school-based program to reduce the risk factors related to cardiovascular disease. Referred to as the Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health, CATCH is the largest school-based health promotion study ever conducted in the United States.
The CATCH study and subsequent trial involved over 5,000 ethnically diverse third graders from 96 elementary schools in Minneapolis, San Diego, Austin and New Orleans. CATCH was a multi-component, multi-year coordinated school health promotion program designed to increase physical activity and impact nutrition knowledge, food choice behavior and tobacco prevention. CATCH also supported nutrition services by linking healthy messages from cafeteria to classroom with an included parent and family component.
CATCH research continues and is now known as Coordinated Approach To Child Health. The research has been translated into a well-renowned, successful program available to schools and community-based settings for early childhood through middle school ages.
Links and resources
School-based cardiovascular health promotion: the Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health (CATCH).
(Perry et al., J Sch Health., 1990)
for information on this trial.
Implementing CATCH in Our Community
Implementing CATCH in Our Community During the first two years of the grant, CATCH has been implemented in 11 elementary schools in east Linn County, and one elementary school in Lincoln County. After school programs initially brought on include Neighbors For Kids in Depoe Bay, and Yachats Youth and Family Activities Program (YYFAP). East Linn County participating sites are Scio Youth Club, Lebanon Boys and Girls Club, and Sweet Home Boys and Girls Club.
During this time period the Tenas Illahee Child Care Center, YYFAP Preschool, and the Samaritan Early Learning Center in Lincoln County also implemented CATCH into their pre-school programs. With the addition of Kids Club in Lebanon, Siletz Head Start, and another five elementary schools and/or afterschool sites in Lincoln County during the third year of the grant, there will be a total of 26 CATCH programs in Lincoln and Linn counties. Approximately 5,000 plus children will be reached.
Collaborating partners included in the grant are Lebanon Community Schools, Neighbors For Kids, Yachats Youth and Families Activities Program, and Samaritan Early Learning Center.
If you’d like to learn more about CATCH in Linn and Lincoln counties, please email the CATCH program director
or call 541-996-7001