Power-Up After-School Collaborative Child and Family Obesity Prevention Program

UCH 1 - Bruce PowellThe rates of obesity and diabetes are rapidly increasing nationwide, and have risen dramatically in young people over the past 20 years. An estimated one third of children and adolescents, in the nation between the ages of 2 and 19, are either obese or overweight. This trend is especially pronounced among African American youth. This puts children at risk of living shorter lives, and suffering from more health problems such as diabetes and hypertension. Power-Up is a holistic approach that includes nutrition and physical activity education and promotion that aims to empower and educate young children and their families about how to live healthier lives.

Power-Up is a weekly curriculum for children in the after-school program. Families are given weekly activities to complete at home to reinforce the lesson and parents are apprised of after-school activities by cellphone texts to keep them engaged in healthy nutrition and physical activities. Weekly sessions are taught by CPS after-school teachers trained and supported by Power-Up staff to deliver the curriculum on various topics about nutrition and physical activity.

Power-Up has been successfully implemented at Woodlawn Community School (WCS) on Chicago’s South Side. 70 children participated in the Power-Up curriculum. After completion, the program resulted in a significant reduction in overweight among participating children.  Children and families expressed great benefits from taking part in the program. We are now seeking additional support from federal funding agencies to continue studying Power-Up at WCS and implement the program at other schools.

Principal Investigator: Deborah L. Burnet, MD, MA
Research Team:
Shahid Choudhry, PhD
Lorri McClinton-Powell, BS, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Woodlawn Community School
Marla Solomon, LD RD CDE, UIC Pediatric Endocrinology Division
Dawnavan Davis, PhD, BlueCross Blue Shield of Kansas City, MO
Rebecca Lipton, PhD
Amy Darukhanavala, MD, University of Chicago, Department of Pediatrics
Althera Steenes
Kavitha Selvaraj, BS
Katherine Gielissen, BS
Lorne Love, Founder, Woodlawn Community School
Renee Salahuddin, MA, Woodlawn Community School
F. Kweku Embil, MA, Principal, Woodlawn Community School
Dezheng Huo, PhD, University of Chicago, Department of Health Studies
Marshall H. Chin, MD, MPH
Michael T. Quinn, PhD

Funding Sources:
NIH/NIDDK 1R01DK096059-01 (pending)
University of Chicago Pilot and Collaborative Clinical and Translational Studies Award (past)