Pathways curriculum and family interventions to promote healthful eating and physical activity in American Indian schoolchildren

Sally M. Davis, Theresa Clay, Mary Smyth, Joel Gittelsohn, Vivian Arviso, Hilary Flint-Wagner, Bonnie Holy Rock, Richard A. Brice, Lauve Metcalfe, Dawn Stewart, Maihan Vu, Elaine J. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Background. Pathways, a multisite school-based study aimed at promoting healthful eating and increasing physical activity, was a randomized field trial including 1704 American Indian third to fifth grade students from 41 schools (21 intervention, 20 controls) in seven American Indian communities. Methods. The intervention schools received four integrated components: a classroom curriculum, food service, physical activity, and family modules. The curriculum and family components were based on Social Learning Theory, American Indian concepts, and results from formative research. Process evaluation data were collected from teachers (n = 235), students (n = 585), and families. Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior Questionnaire data were collected from 1150 students including both intervention and controls. Results. There were significant increases in knowledge and cultural identity in children in intervention compared to control schools with a significant retention of knowledge over the 3 years, based on the results of repeating the third and fourth grade test items in the fifth grade. Family members participated in Family Events and take-home activities, with fewer participating each year. Conclusion. A culturally appropriate school intervention can promote positive changes in knowledge, cultural identity, and self-reported healthful eating and physical activity in American Indian children and environmental change in school food service.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S24-S34
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • American Indian
  • Curriculum
  • Diet
  • Elementary schoolchildren
  • Family
  • Health promotion
  • Obesity prevention
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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