Healthy for Life/PE4ME

An Approach to Childhood Obesity

  • Marie-Hortence Prosper Department of Community Health, St. Joseph Health System
  • Vanessa L. Moczulski Department of Community Health, St. Joseph Health System
  • Azhar Qureshi Department of Community Health, St. Joseph Health System
  • Mike Weiss American Academy of Pediatrics, CA
  • Tracy Bryars St. Jude Medical Center, Fullerton, CA


Childhood obesity is a growing public health concern in the United States that disproportionately affects disadvantaged youth. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of the Healthy for Life program on childhood overweight and obesity and its impact on lifestyle behaviors that promote lifelong fitness and healthy eating among children and adolescents. The program was offered as a physical education class mostly in schools in underprivileged areas across Southern California. Classes were specifically tailored for children in preschools, elementary, middle, and high schools. In addition to an initial screening physical conducted by a physician, program staff conducted anthropometric measurements three times in the school year. Lifestyle behaviors and self-esteem were also evaluated. Fifty-one schools and 1,469 students enrolled in the program. BMI decreased significantly for students at or above the 85th percentile. Students also demonstrated significant improvements in self-esteem scores and indicators for lifestyle behavior. Healthy for Life has important implications for health practitioners. The program has the potential to improve the health of underprivileged youth whose neighborhoods are unsafe and often lack facilities for exercise. Furthermore, it provides a safe, accessible, no cost, and effective method to minimize some of the causal factors of obesity.

How to Cite
Prosper, M.-H., Moczulski, V. L., Qureshi, A., Weiss, M., & Bryars, T. (2009). Healthy for Life/PE4ME: An Approach to Childhood Obesity. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 7(SI), 23-32.