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November 24, 2014

CATCH Healthy Habits featured at APHA: Developments in Aging Research

CATCH Healthy Habits is an evidence-based intergenerational approach to improving child and older adult physical activity and nutrition. Peter Holgrave, Director of the OASIS Institute CATCH Healthy Habits Program presented a round table discussion at the American Public Health Association Convention in New Orleans featuring late breaking developments in aging research. logo-apha

“It was great to have such strong interest both in CATCH and the intergenerational, volunteer-led version, CATCH Healthy Habits,” Peter said of the experience. “Both academics and service providers, including from YMCA, valued learning about CATCH’s proven track record for successfully engaging a broad range of communities to successfully improve their health and wellbeing in lasting and sustainable ways. The program’s evidence-based design, variety of fun activities and health benefits for both kids and adults 50+ alike generated much enthusiasm among session participants. When you describe how the CATCH approach works and share examples of how individuals and communities benefit from CATCH Healthy Habits and other versions of CATCH, the questions quickly shift from ‘Do we want to do this?’ to ‘How can we do this too!'”

To learn more about what Peter shared at the conference, please see his session overview, below:

Background: Obesity, nutrition, and physical activity are important public health issues for children and older adults. To address this need, the OASIS Institute and University of Texas developed CATCH Healthy Habits, an intergenerational adaptation of the evidence-based Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH) program. In 19 cities across 15 states, older adult volunteers facilitate the program, which encourages children to improve nutritional choices and increase physical activity in out-of-school settings.

Methods: To evaluate the program’s effectiveness, child participants (grades 3-5) and older adult volunteers, were surveyed before and after the program using items adapted from the ASSQ and BRFSS. Physical activity was observed during the program among adults and children (grades K-5) using the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT). Volunteer return on investment was measured using the Strategic Metrics and Results Tracking (SMART) tool.

Results: Data was collected from 3,829 children (47% female; average age: 9 years) and 729 older adults (82% female; average age: 67 years). Both child and older adult participants reported increased physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption. Children also reported increased confidence eating fewer foods high in fat and salt and decreased screen time. Older adults also reported increases in muscle strength and flexibility. SOFIT results found that 68% of children and 50% of adults met or exceeded  recommendations for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Conclusions: Intergenerational physical activity and nutrition programs, such as CATCH Healthy Habits, can significantly improve the health-related attitudes and behaviors of children and older adults.

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