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Hip Hop To Health Curriculum

Obesity has become an epidemic in the United States, which sets the stage for sky-rocketing rates of obesity-associated comorbid conditions in the future.

The prevalence of obesity in the United States has tripled among young children since 1980. Although the rates of obesity among preschool children decreased significantly from 2002 to 2012, they are still alarmingly high overall. Without intervention, obese children are likely to remain obese as adults, increasing their risk for poor health outcomes.

Hip Hop to Health is an evidence-based obesity prevention curriculum for young children.

Hip Hop to Health was developed in 1999 by Dr. Marian Fitzgibbon and Dr. Melinda Stolley. They tested the intervention, tracking changes in body mass index among 3- to 5-year-old minority, low-income children who were randomized to either experience the Hip Hop to Health curriculum or a general health intervention.

The research showed that children in Hip-Hop to Health had smaller changes in their body-mass index, appropriate for growth, compared to children in the control group.

That Hip-Hop to Health study was the first efficacy trial to document beneficial effects on BMI trajectory in low-income, minority, preschool children.

In the most recent study, Drs. Fitzgibbon and Stolley worked with Dr. Angela Odom-Young and Dr. Jennifer McCaffrey to adapt Hip Hop to Health, and train peer educators. Then they implemented, evaluated, and disseminated this evidence-based obesity prevention intervention through a partnership with the University of Illinois Extension Cook County, the University of Illinois at Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion, and UIC.

The program is being delivered by peer educators at Chicago Park Districts, Head Start Programs, and other venues that partner with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) to deliver diet and activity programming to low-income families.

Learn more about this dissemination study here.