Omaha students take peer-to-peer approach to fighting obesity

Jul 29, 2014

A new program at Omaha’s Northwest High School uses a peer-to-peer approach to target obesity prevention.

Building Healthy Futures is working with OPS on the project, called the Healthy Huskies Club. It focuses on physical activity, nutrition, and body image. Renee Claborn, School-Based Health Centers Coordinator for Building Healthy Futures, says the program grew out of a need to connect youth with community resources.

"What we were finding at our high schools was we were having these kids that we were making the diagnosis for, we were working toward a readiness for change in their appointments with the medical provider, but when they were ready for that change there was really nothing in the community that addressed their needs as adolescents for preventing or treating obesity."

A youth health advisory council is developing the programming for the club. That council surveyed 700 9th through 11th grade Northwest students last May to gauge interest in such a program. A $25,000 grant from Childrens’ Hospital and Medical Center is paying for the project.

A 2012 youth risk behavior survey done by the Douglas County Health Department found that 13.9 percent of Douglas County teens are obese.