School-Based Interventions to Prevent Obesity: What Works and How it Can Improve Children’s Health

Summary: The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends three school-based intervention approaches to prevent childhood obesity. Drs. Jamie Chriqui and Ramona Finnie and Ms. Caitlin Merlo talk with CDC’s Dr. John Anderton about the systematic review evidence and how the CPSTF recommendations can be implemented in schools to improve children’s health.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the audio clips belong solely to the speakers, and not necessarily to their employers, organizations, or other groups, including the Community Preventive Services Task Force or CDC.

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Jamie F. Chriqui, PhD, MHS is a professor of health policy and administration in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), a fellow of the UIC Institute for Health Research and Policy, and co-lead of the Community Engagement Core for the Illinois Prevention Research Center. She has more than 26 years of experience conducting public health policy research, analysis, and evaluation.

Ramona Finnie, DrPH, MPH, CHES is a service fellow in the Community Guide Branch where she has worked on systematic reviews for intervention approaches to prevent cardiovascular disease, childhood obesity, health equity and intimate partner and sexual violence. As an ORISE fellow with the Community Guide, she worked on the review team evaluating effectiveness of mental health benefits legislation. Read more >>

Caitlin Merlo, MPH, RD is a health scientist and serves as the lead for school nutrition in the School Health Branch of the Division of Population Health at CDC. She develops science-based guidance and provides content expertise and technical assistance on strategies to improve the school nutrition environment and support healthy eating among youth. She is a registered dietitian and earned a Master of Public Health degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining CDC in 2009, Caitlin was a research assistant at UC Berkeley’s Center for Weight and Health and a nutrition educator at the Alameda County WIC program in Oakland, California.


John P. Anderton, PhD, MPA, is the communications officer for the Office of Public Health Scientific Services at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prior to joining CDC in 1991, Dr. Anderton was the Kansas Affiliate program director of the American Diabetes Association and also was a science educator at a planetarium in Wichita, Kansas.

At CDC, Dr. Anderton has planned and launched health campaigns promoting childhood immunization, stomach ulcer treatment, HIV testing, and electronic medical records. Anderton’s PhD is in health promotion and behavior from the University of Georgia and his master’s degree is in public and urban administration from Georgia State University.

Links and resources from the audio clip:

Recorded October, 2017