Department of Educational Psychology


Date of this Version



International Electronic Journal of Health Education 15 (2012), pp. 62-71.


Obesity and overweight among children in China is a growing concern. The curriculum and organization of Chinese schools focuses on academic achievement leaving little time for other programs. This pilot program illustrated that it is possible to involve schools and parents in a program to reduce obesity and overweight. Teachers, school staff, parents and elementary students were involved in an all-school educational initiative based on WHO’s Health Promoting School Model. The program was evaluated with a mixed modal ANOVA using a 3-level within subjects repeated factor (baseline, 1st follow-up, 2nd follow-up) and a 2-level between subjects factor (gender: boys and girls). Results indicated that it was possible to successfully involve a whole school and its parents in an innovative program aimed at reducing child obesity. Knowledge significantly increased between baseline and 1st follow-up but not between 1st and 2nd follow-up. Attitude scores increased across all assessments. Behavior scores increased significantly across all assessment periods. Boys maintained positive decreases in their BMI Z scores, while girls, after initial gains, reverted back to their initial baseline BMI Z scores. It is concluded that it was possible to conduct an effective comprehensive school health education program aimed at reducing obesity in Chinese elementary schools.