Purpose: To evaluate two approaches to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes in young girls.
The Need: We are experiencing an epidemic of childhood obesity. Rates of obesity have
doubled to tripled in the past two decades, with the highest rates among poor and ethnic
minority girls. Type 2 diabetes (what used to be called adult-onset diabetes) is now showing
up in overweight children, and more children are manifesting precursors of heart disease and
Our Two Approaches:
1. A state-of-the-art nutrition education program with monthly newsletters mailed to girls
and their parents and quarterly evening lectures/educational events at school sites,
including cooking demonstrations and games to improve nutrition and increase physical
2. After-school dance classes held five days per week all year long at school sites from
the time school lets out until 6PM. Dance classes will include a 1-1.5 hour supervised
homework study hall each day, and emphasize both traditional ethnic dances and popular
Participants: Second, third and fourth grade girls and their families will be eligible to
participate. All activities are free of charge. To be able to perform a valid evaluation,
to be able to accommodate all girls at their own school, and to be fair about which girls
receive which program, families who wish to participate will be randomly selected to
participate in either one program or the other (nutrition education or dance classes). Each
family will participate for two years.
Evaluation: Trained Stanford staff will perform all evaluation procedures with
participating families in their own homes at the beginning and every six months. Families
will be compensated for their participation.
Second-, third- and fourth-grade girls, aged 7-10 years of age enrolled in one of the
participating schools will be eligible. Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible.
However, girls will not be eligible to participate if they:
- have been diagnosed with a chronic illness that affects their growth and/or weight
(e.g., type 1 diabetes, hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease)
- are taking medications potentially affecting their growth and/or weight (e.g.,
methylphenidate HCl, systemic steroids)
- have Asthma (not exclusionary alone) but have taken systemic steroids (oral,
intravenous, or intramuscular) for a period of more than 21 days in the past year
- have a condition that limits their participation in physical activity enough that
they are not able to participate in Physical Education at school (e.g., significant
structural heart disease)
- are pregnant
- are unable to complete the informed consent process.