A significant limitation to the effectiveness of previous school health education programs has been the classroom teacher. The teacher has been reported often to lack detailed health knowledge, be unmotivated to promote student behavior change, and be a poor role model. This proposal will test whether a teacher wellness program (TEACH WELL) offered to teachers remedies these teacher deficits and has an impact on both teacher and student cardiovascular health (CVH). Since classroom behavior change activities have been documented to promote CVH in school children, all participating schools will receive classroom activities specially designed to complement the existing commonly used textbook, and to promote dietary and physical activity changes among the students. Thirty-two participating schools will be randomly assigned to experimental or control conditions.The Teach Well program will be offered to the experimental schools. Teach Well will be the combination of the structure of the Institute for Aerobics Research's PALS program, which has been demonstrated to be effective with classroom teachers, and the extensive modular programming of the Johnson & Johnson's Reach for Health program, which has been demonstrated to be effective in a broad variety of worksite settings. This is a simple experimental control group design with random assignment of matched pairs of schools. Because of issues of clustered data, schools will be the unit of assignment and of analysis. Outcome evaluation measures will include physiologic (blood pressure, cholesterol), anthropometric (skinfolds, circumferences), behavioral (diet, physical activity) and administrative (teacher absence) indicators for both teachers and students. Mediating cognitive (behavioral capability, self efficacy, teacher job satisfaction), and program (extent of participation in Teach Well, effectiveness of implementation of the classroom activities) variables will be measured and used as covariates. A repeated measures analysis of covariance with students nested in schools will be the primary model for analyses. Data analyses will assess the extent to which the Teach Well program positively impacted the CVH of teachers, and in turn of their students above and beyond the effects of classroom behavior change activities. The results should be of value to both those interested in improving the health and wellness of teachers, and to those attempting to design more effective health education experiences for school children.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (SRC (DE))
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Emory University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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