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Success of 'Shape-Up Somerville' Childhood Obesity Intervention to be Presented at the Friedman School Symposium at Tufts, October 29-31, 2007 - Boston

Wednesday, September 19, 2007 General News J E 4
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NEW YORK, Sept. 18 Christina Economos, PhD,principal investigator of Shape Up Somerville: Eat Smart. Play Hard, a large-scale community intervention to curb childhood obesity, will present herresearch at the second annual Friedman School Symposium at Tufts, October 29thto 31st in Boston.

"Shape Up Somerville" was a 3 year long obesity prevention interventiontargeted at first through third graders in the culturally diverse Bostonsuburb of Somerville, Massachusetts.

Eager to turn the tide on childhood obesity, the town leaders ofSomerville, community partners, and university researchers joined forces tospark community change and build an innovative, health-minded environment forthe children. The Shape Up approach emphasized manageable and affordablechanges in behavior and nutrition throughout the course of the day. What'smore, it worked. The intervention decreased BMI z score in children at high-risk for obesity, compared to the two control communities.

"There are lots of communities around the country attempting to makechanges and what this study tells us is they should persevere," Economos said.

"A lot of people making a few small changes added up to producesignificant results," says Dr. Economos. "We couldn't go to the kids and sayyou have to change your lifestyle. We had to change the environment and thecommunity spirit first."

Dr. Economos also directs the Tufts Longitudinal Health Study, which isresearching the relationships between health knowledge, attitudes, behaviors,and physiologic outcomes of college-age students over time. TLHS is enteringits tenth year and remains the only study of its kind. Dr. Economos isdedicated to the continuous development of communication strategies and publichealth policies that deal with the complex relationships between nutrition,health, disease and human performance. Her research effort's focus on theinteraction among exercise, diet, body composition, and bone health throughlongitudinal studies and lifestyle interventions to prevent osteoporosis andobesity, starting early in life.

Dr. Economos holds the New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition and is theAssociate Director of the John Hancock Center for Physical Activity andNutrition at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Scienceand Policy. She received a Bachelor of Science from Boston University, aMaster of Science in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia Universityand a doctorate in Nutrition Science from Tufts University.

The Friedman School Symposium will be held October 29-31, 2007 in Boston,Massachusetts at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. The 2.5-day program isavailable on the School's web site at http://nutrition.tufts.edu.

The Program Committee is co-chaired by Miriam Nelson, Ph. D., AssociateProfessor, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Directorof the John Hancock Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition and JoseOrdovas, Ph.D., Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy andSenior Scientist and Director, Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory, Jean MayerUSDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science andPolicy at Tufts University is the only independent school of nutrition in theUnited States. The school's centers, which focus on questions relating tofamine, hunger, poverty, and communications, are renowned for the applicationof scientific research to national and international policy.

Contact: Claire O'Connor/Claire O'Connor Public Relations, Inc.

212-245-5784/ oconnorpr@aol.com

SOURCE Tufts Friedman School Symposium
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