Faculty note: Collaboration between faculty (Zhu, Reilly, Olson Hunt, Horvarter) leads to publication
An eight-year span of data collection, two years of data analysis, and hard work over summer 2019 resulted in a collaborative publication by Associate Prof. Janet Reilly (Nursing), Associate Prof. Le Zhu (Human Biology), Associate Prof. Megan Olson Hunt (Mathematics & Statistics), Senior Lecturer Rebecca Hovarter (Nursing) and a retired public health nurse, M. Brigid Flood. “Comparison of Rural Childhood BMI Percentiles: Prevalence and Trends in a Midwest County, 2008–2016” was published by SAGE Publishing and The Journal of School Nursing. The article ABSTRACT: The number of children who are obese and overweight continues as a public health challenge despite decades of research. The purpose of this article is to describe trends in body mass index (BMI) percentile data collected from 11- to 14-year-old school children in 2008–2009 and 2015–2016 in rural Wisconsin. The BMI percentiles from 1,347 students were compared using time, gender, age, and school (public vs. parochial) as predictors. The trend over time indicated a decrease in students of healthy weight and an increase in those overweight or obese. Also noted was a significantly higher proportion of children who were overweight or obese in parochial compared to public schools. Discussed are the observed trends, community-wide initiatives implemented, as well as how schools can employ a more comprehensive approach to childhood obesity that first ensures community readiness and involves school, home, and community.