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Boston Children's Hospital

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Adolescent; Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance Plans; Child; Choice Behavior; Cross-Sectional Studies; Curriculum; Eating Disorders; Exercise; Female; Food Habits; *Healthy People Programs; Humans; Logistic Models; Massachusetts; Obesity; Outcome and Process Assessment (Health Care); Program Evaluation; Public Health Administration; Questionnaires; School Health Services; Self Report; Students


Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Pediatrics | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion


INTRODUCTION: The Planet Health obesity prevention curriculum has prevented purging and abuse of diet pills (disordered weight control behavior [DWCB]) in middle-school girls in randomized trials, but the effects of Planet Health on DWCB when implemented by schools under dissemination conditions are not known.

METHODS: Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts disseminated Planet Health as part of the 3-year, Healthy Choices obesity prevention program in middle schools. We conducted an evaluation in 45 schools from fall 2005 to spring 2008. We gathered data from school staff to quantify intervention activities, and we gathered anonymous cross-sectional survey data from students on DWCB at baseline and Year 3 follow-up (n = 16,369). Multivariate logistic analyses with generalized estimating equations examined the effect of intervention activities on odds of students reporting DWCB at follow-up.

RESULTS: Students in schools reaching a high number of youth with Planet Health lessons on reducing television viewing had lower odds of DWCB at follow-up (odds ratio [OR], 0.80 per 100 lesson-exposures; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.74-0.85). In addition, reduced odds of DWCB at follow-up were found in schools with active staff teamwork (OR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.66-0.86) and the presence of programs addressing television viewing goals with staff (OR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.28-0.53).

CONCLUSION: Combined evidence from efficacy and effectiveness trials and now from dissemination research indicates that appropriately designed obesity prevention programs can achieve DWCB prevention on a large scale.

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DOI of Published Version



Austin SB, Spadano-Gasbarro JL, Greaney ML, Blood EA, Hunt AT, Richmond TK, et al. Effect of the Planet Health Intervention on Eating Disorder Symptoms in Massachusetts Middle Schools, 2005–2008. Prev Chronic Dis 2012;9:120111. DOI:10.5888/pcd9.120111. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Preventing chronic disease


At the time of publication, Monica Wang was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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Link to Article in PubMed

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