Our Research

Project Healthy Schools (PHS) includes a research component designed to study the program’s effects on lifestyle, markers of cardiovascular risk, and obesity. Data from behavioral questionnaires and optional health screenings show important improvements in middle school students’ self-reported health behaviors and physiologic measures. A presentation summarizing 10 years of PHS research is available here.

Results to Date

Over 75,000 sixth graders in nearly 100 schools in Michigan have participated in the program. Of these students, over 23,000 have been part of our research, including 3,000 students who participated in optional health screenings. Research results demonstrate that this program has improved the health of the students it has reached.

  • 71% of students indicate, by standardized questionnaire, that they are changing their behaviors in a favorable way.
  • Behavioral highlights from post-program survey results from the 2017-2018 school year show that students increased fruit and vegetable consumption; decreased sugary food and beverage consumption; decreased TV and video game screen time; and increased physical activity.
  • Physiologic screenings show improvements in measures such as serum cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglyceride levels, blood sugar, and measures of fitness.
  • Low/middle income communities’ children are at higher risk based on obesity rates and physiologic measures, but appear to benefit even more from the program.
  • Among all schools, children at highest risk, based on risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol, seem to get the most benefit.
  • Benefits appear to be sustained, not just after the five-month intervention, but also at the end of years one, two and three post-PHS.

These graphs demonstrate the sustained benefit of PHS in both the physiological (n=889) and behavioral (n=740) measures of Ann Arbor students over four years post-PHS intervention.

Physiological measurements over four years

Behavior measurements over four years

These graphs demonstrate the sustained improvement in cardiovascular risk factors post-PHS intervention in students from both Ann Arbor, an affluent community, and Ypsilanti, a more diverse, lower socioeconomic community.

Sustainability Ann Arbor

Sustainability Ypsilanti

Please contact us if you would like more information.

Presentations and Publications

Below is a list of PHS articles published in peer reviewed journals since 2012.

PHS has presented five abstracts at national conferences in 2018. The abstracts include:

  • Identifying the Prevalence of Project Healthy Schools Children at High Risk for Cardiovascular Disease and Metabolic Syndrome. 39th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine/ New Orleans, LA, April (Poster).
  • Cardiovascular Risk Factors Associated with Adolescent Hypertension. American College of Cardiology 2018 Scientific Sessions/ Orlando, FL, March (Poster).
  • Physiological Outcomes Based on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption of Adolescents. American College of Cardiology 2018 Scientific Sessions/ Orlando, FL, March (Poster).
  • Trends in Mobile Device Usage, Physical Activity, and Sedentary Screen Time in Project Healthy Schools Students. American College of Cardiology 2018 Scientific Sessions/ Orlando, FL, March (Poster).
  • Project Healthy Schools: Empowering Youth to Make Lifelong Healthy Choices. 28th Annual Art & Science of Health Promotion Conference/ San Diego, CA, March (Oral Program Description).

Please contact us if you would like a complete list.