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Keywords:

  • nutrition and diet;
  • physical activity;
  • program planning

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

School environment and policy changes have increased healthy eating and physical activity; however, there has been modest success in translating research findings to practice. The School Environment Project tested whether an adapted version of Intervention Mapping (AIM) resulted in school change.

METHODS

Using a pair randomized design, 10 rural elementary schools were assigned to AIM or the School Health Index (SHI). Baseline measures were collected fall 2005, AIM was conducted 2005-2006, and follow-up measures were collected fall 2006 and 2007. Outcome measures included number and type of effective environment and policy changes implemented; process measures included the extent to which 11 implementation steps were used.

RESULTS

AIM schools made an average of 4.4 effective changes per school with 90% still in place a year later. SHI schools made an average of 0.6 effective changes with 66% in place a year later. Implementation steps distinguishing AIM from SHI included use of external, trained facilitators; principal involvement; explicitly stating the student behavior goals; identifying effective environment and policy changes; prioritizing potential changes based on importance and feasibility; and developing an action plan.

CONCLUSION

The AIM process led to environment and policy changes known to increase healthy eating and physical activity.