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What is CATCH?

Samaritan supports CATCH, a Coordinated Approach to Child Health. CATCH is an affordable evidence-based program with more than 20 years of research, and is recommended by the National Institutes of Health, Centers 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 10,000 schools in the United States and abroad, it is the most widespread coordinated school health program in the world.

Hear program directors and educators from Oregon’s east Linn and Lincoln county CATCH programs share how they teach lifelong healthy habits using the CATCH curriculum.

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Nation-wide, childhood obesity has grown at alarming rates over the past two decades, and it is no different 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) are considered obese.

Local health care providers, educators and community service leaders selected CATCH as an evidence-based program to educate the children in our community. In 2012, Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital received a three-year $448,334 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to implement the CATCH program.

CATCH is an approach to child health that 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.

Benefits of CATCH

  • CATCH is the best program proven to reduce child obesity backed by 20 years of evidence and research.
  • CATCH has been found to be the most cost-effective way to prevent child obesity from published research.
  • CATCH is unique in that it coordinates healthy messages throughout the community, which reinforces healthy behaviors. It includes schools, after-school and early childhood centers, community partners and health agencies.
  • CATCH changes school, early childhood and after-school environments to include health and wellness as 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.

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CATCH in the Community

During the first two years of the grant, CATCH was implemented in 11 elementary schools in east Linn County and one elementary school in Lincoln County. It has also been integrated into after-school programs, which include Neighbors For Kids in Depoe Bay and Yachats Youth and Family Activities Program. East Linn County participating sites include Scio Youth Club, Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam, which includes locations in Lebanon and Sweet Home.

During this time, the Tenas Illahee Child Care Center, Yachats Youth and Family Activities Program Preschool and the Samaritan Early Learning Center in Lincoln County also implemented CATCH into their preschool programs. With the addition of Kids Club in Lebanon, Siletz Head Start, and another five elementary schools and after-school sites in Lincoln County during the third year of the grant, there are now a total of 26 CATCH programs in Lincoln and Linn counties.

More than 6,875 children have been reached through these programs.

From 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. Originally 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 and parent and family components.

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.

2016 Childhood Obesity Prevention Summit – Keynotes

The Seventh Annual Regional Childhood Obesity Prevention Summit addressed the growing epidemic of childhood obesity in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties. Videos and presentation materials from the keynote address speakers are available below.

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Contact Information & Resources


School-based cardiovascular health promotion: the Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health.(Perry et al., J Sch Health., 1990). Click here for information on this trial.

Contact Us 

If you’d like to learn more about CATCH in Lincoln and Linn County, Oregon, email the CATCH program director or call 541-996-7001.