College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-20-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jocelyn Smith Carter, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Patrick J. Fowler, Ph.D.


School-based child obesity intervention literature demonstrates variable body mass index (BMI) related outcomes, but studies do not typically explore the effect of interventions on psychological outcomes nor do they examine the interactions between participation in the intervention and individual participant characteristics. In this study, the effects of a universal school-based obesity prevention were examined on the outcomes of BMI, internalizing, and externalizing outcomes. Potential moderators of the relationship between participation in the intervention and outcomes included ethnicity, baseline weight class, baseline internalizing symptoms, and baseline externalizing symptoms. Results confirm differential benefits of the intervention based on a variety of baseline characteristics. For those participating in the intervention as compared to controls, Latino children experienced a decrease in BMIz, Black youth and those with low baseline externalizing symptoms experienced a decrease in internalizing outcomes, and those with high baseline externalizing symptoms experienced a decrease in subsequent externalizing outcomes. Results of this study are important in highlighting the necessity of future school-based child obesity intervention studies to consider psychological outcomes and individual characteristics in the design and evaluation of programs.