Step 5. Improved Population-Level Health Outcomes

Weight

Through a collaborative approach, we expect to prevent, reduce, and control chronic disease by creating environments and policies that reduce exposure to risk factors for obesity and chronic disease. Our 2012 neighborhood survey found that 43% of respondents were obese, with 26% overweight and diabetes 1.5 times higher than the national average. 

However, when comparing results from 2009 to 2012, we see statistically and clinically meaningful improvements in health-related outcomes: for example, more insured adults; reductions in daily smoking, sedentary behavior and consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and high-fat foods; and improved school environments such as implementation of school wellness policies restricting use of food as reward and comprehensive health education.

Preliminary Results: New Haven Public School Students

  • Being overweight or obese typically increases with age. However, among nearly 900 students who were surveyed in 2009 (when in grades 5-6) and again in 2011 (when in grades 7-8), there was no change in age-adjusted body mass index. Slightly more children who were of healthy weight and slightly fewer who were categorized as obese (BMI > 95th percentile).
  • Although these findings do not indicate a full reversal of trends, the “holding steady” pattern is encouraging. Moreover, we have increased the scope and intensity of our school interventions and expect to see greater improvement in our fall 2012 assessments.