Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type



Health Sciences

First Advisor

Jennifer Elison

Second Advisor

Joni Walton

Third Advisor

Donna Greenwood


Childhood obesity has become a significant healthcare concern in the US with rates tripling within the last decade. The increasing prevalence of childhood obesity puts these children at risk for several diseases and other associated health problems. This quantitative research study posed the question of the effectiveness of an educational intervention on children’s knowledge of obesity risk factors. This investigation assessed obesity awareness and understanding of the importance of physical activity and a nutritious diet before and after an educational intervention in 123 seventh grade students. The health and physical education teacher at the participating school conducted the intervention over two 50 minute class periods. The intervention was developed from the school district’s approved health curriculum and from existing research reviewed in this study. A pre, post survey method was used to assess the effectiveness of the educational intervention and descriptive statistics were used to interpret the results. This small-scale school based intervention was effective in increasing knowledge of obesity risk factors in middle school students. The intervention was more effective in increasing obesity awareness and educating about diet and nutrition than portraying the importance of physical activity. More extensive interventions are needed for maximum benefit and long term impact. Continued efforts to reduce and prevent childhood obesity are needed to restore the health of this nation.