Texas Childhood Obesity Prevention Policy Evaluation (T-COPPE)

Research Update

The Program Being Evaluated

The Texas Childhood Obesity Prevention Policy Evaluation (T-COPPE) is a five-year study that examines the impact of (1) the national Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program and (2) the revised Women, Infants, and Children’s (WIC) Healthy Food Allocation Package Policy on physical activity and eating behaviors of children at risk for obesity in Texas.

About the Evaluation

The principal investigators of this evaluation are Deanna M. Hoelscher, RD, LD, CNS of University of Texas and Marcia G. Ory, MPH of Texas A&M.

Hoelscher and Ory will use a quasi-experimental design to measure the percent differences of children using active transport to and from school after four school years. Food availability and accessibility changes due to WIC food package improvements will be measured through pre- and post-observations at 125 grocery stores throughout Texas. Administrative and parent survey data will determine changes in purchasing and consumption behaviors.

Select Research Results

  • Children were more likely to walk if they were in an infrastructure school or a planning school than if they were in one of the control schools that received no funding for the SRTS program.
    • Children in schools with SRTS planning projects were more likely to walk or bike to school compared to children in control schools.
    • Children in schools with SRTS infrastructure projects were more likely to walk or bike from school compared to children in control schools.
  • Children in planning schools were better at asking parents if they could walk or bike to school.
  • T-COPPE survey and interview results highlighted that parents stressed the importance of safety in allowing children to walk to school.
  • Parents with children in planning schools had greater confidence letting their children walk to school.

Select Policy Implications

  • Schools and communities that applied for grants were more likely to have students walk to school compared to schools that did not apply for this funding (comparison schools). 
  • Programs that focus on parent education and neighborhood safety may address perceived barriers to walking or biking to school.

Journal articles, policy briefs, and fact sheets will be highlighted on RWJF.org as they are published.

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Children are more likely to walk to/from school if their school received #SRTS funding