October 25, 2004
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has awarded grants totaling $205,319 to eight local health departments to collect county-level data on the prevalence of obesity in children under the School Physical Activity and Nutrition project, known as SPAN.
Local health departments receiving funding are:
• City of Amarillo Department of Public Health, $54,268
• Bell County Public Health District, $26,963
• El Paso City-County Health and Environmental Services, $12,342
• Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, $24,612
• City of Laredo Health Department, $24,301
• Victoria City-County Health Department, $27,350
• Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, $8,824
• Wichita Falls/Wichita County Public Health District, $26,659
Children in fourth, eighth and 11th grades will be weighed, measured and will complete a survey about eating habits, physical activity, and nutrition knowledge and beliefs.
“In addition to prevalence data, the SPAN project will help us look at some of the ‘whys' of overweight in children and allows us to focus on developing more effective interventions,” said Kim Sasser of the DSHS Obesity Prevention and Public Health Nutrition and Physical Activity program. “We are looking at information about overweight across the state, not at individual children or schools.”
The University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health developed the SPAN project and surveyed children from 2000 to 2002 under a grant from the Texas Department of Health (now DSHS). They will continue the statewide survey this year.
(News Media: for more information contact Kim Sasser, DSHS Obesity Prevention and Public Health Nutrition and Physical Activity Program, 512-458-7444; or Emily Palmer, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7400.)