Public Health Nutrition

Research Article

The CATCH Kids Club: a pilot after-school study for improving elementary students’ nutrition and physical activity

Steve Keldera1 c1, Deanna M Hoelschera1, Cristina S Barrosoa1, Joey L Walkera1, Peter Cribba1 and Shaohua Hua1

a1 University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, 7000 Fannin *2658, Houston, TX 77030, USA


Background Although many school-based diet and physical activity interventions have been designed and evaluated, relatively few have been tested for the after-school setting. After-school day-care programmes at either elementary schools or private locations provide a ready-made opportunity for health programmes that may be difficult to incorporate into an already-full school day. The purpose of this paper is to report on a pilot study of an after-school adaptation of the CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child Health) elementary school programme called the CATCH Kids Club (CKC).

Methods The CKC was pilot-tested and formatively evaluated in 16 Texas after-school programmes: eight in El Paso and eight in Austin (four intervention and four reference sites each). Evaluation consisted of direct observation of moderate to vigorous physical activity during play time, self-reported food intake and physical activity, and focus group interviews with after-school programme staff.

Results Students responded well to the physical activity and snack components and were less interested in the five-module education component. Routine staff training was a key variable in achieving proper implementation; the ideal would be a full day with repeated follow-up model teaching visits. Staff turnover was a logistic issue, as was programme leader readiness and interest in conducting the programme. Strong and significant effects were observed for the physical activity but not for the education component. The results of the physical education component suggest it is feasible, effective and ready for larger-scale evaluation or dissemination.

(Received December 17 2003)

(Accepted September 22 2004)


c1 *Corresponding author: Email