Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH)

CATCH Global Foundation; University of Texas School of Public Health (UTHealth)


The Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) is a PSE change and direct education intervention aiming to prevent childhood obesity in school-age children. The two main behavioral targets are helping children identify and choose healthy foods and increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). CATCH’s training and curriculum materials provide the information and resources teachers need to implement strategies to improve child health.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change

Intervention Reach and Adoption

CATCH was initially developed in the late 1980s through a collaborative effort by: the University of California at San Diego, the University of Minnesota, Tulane University, and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health. In subsequent years, it was distributed by researchers with the UTHealth School of Public Health who continued to test and improve the program. In 2014, the CATCH Global Foundation was created to further expand the program’s reach and implementation. CATCH is implemented in schools (pre-K, grades K-5, grades 6-8), and in after school settings. CATCH programs have been implemented in all 50 states, Ecuador, and Canada. In the United States, more than 12,000 educational sites use CATCH programs reaching over 1.8 million children.

Setting: Schools, Community, Faith-based community

Target Audience: Elementary School, Middle School

Race/Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

The CATCH program is based on the CDC Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model and has four main components: 1) the Eat Smart school nutrition program, 2) Classroom curriculum, 3) a Physical Education program, and 4) a Coordination Kit. The Coordination Kit includes family materials and provides a step-by-step guide to facilitate collaboration among administrators, teachers, nutrition staff, parents, and other important stakeholders. The middle school program (grade 6-8) also incorporates the HEADS UP science education program and the IMPACT physical activity program.

CATCH provides trainings for teachers and other educators who will be implementing the program. More information about the various programs and their components can be found on their website:


Intervention Materials

Intervention Costs

CATCH curriculum and materials are available for purchase through Flaghouse.

Grades K-5:

Grades 6-8:



CATCH trainings are available through CATCH GlobalFoundation. For current pricing, please see:

Evidence Summary

Evaluations of CATCH have shown that the program is associated with reductions in overweight and obesity, increases in physical activity, improvements in dietary intake, and is cost effective. Reports of supporting evidence are listed on the website ( and include:

  1. Cawley J. The economics of childhood obesity. Health Affairs. 2010;29(3):364-371.
  2. Institute of Medicine. Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation. Washingtion, DC: The National Academies Press; 2012.
  3. Geier AB, Foster GD, Womble LG, et al. The relationship between relative weight and school attendance among elementary schoolchildren. Obesity. 2007;15(8):2157-2161.
  4. Taras, H, Potts-Datema, W. Obesity and student performance at school. Journal of School Health. 2005;75(8):291-295.
  5. Luepker RV, Perry CL, McKinlay SM, et al. Outcomes of a field trial to improve children’s dietary patterns and physical activity: The Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health (CATCH). J Am Med Assoc. 1996;275:768-776.
  6. Nader P, Stone EJ, Lytle LA, et al. Three year maintenance of improved diet and physical activity: the CATCH cohort. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999;153(7): 695-704.
  7. Coleman KJ, Tiller CL, Sanchez MA, et al. Prevention of the epidemic increase in child risk of overweight in low-income schools: the El Paso coordinated approach to child health. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:217-222.
  8. Hoelscher DM, Kelder SH, Perez A, et al. Changes in the regional prevalence of child obesity in 4th, 8th, and 11th grade students in Texas from 2000-2002 to 2004-2005. Obesity. 2010;18(7):1360-1368.
  9. Hoelscher DM, Springer AE, Ranjit N, et al. Reductions in child obesity among disadvantaged school children with community involvement: the Travis County CATCH Trial. Obesity. 2010;18(S1):S36-44.
  10. Murray N, Garza J, Diamond P, et al. Physical activity improves academic achievement in elementary school children. Science. 2009; under review.
  11. Brown HS, Perez A, Li YP, Hoelscher DM, Kelder SH, Rivera R. The cost-effectiveness of a school-based overweight program. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2007;4:47

Classification: Research-tested

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST3 MT1, MT3 LT1, LT3
Environmental Settings ST6 MT5, MT6
Sectors of Influence

Evaluation Materials

CATCH offers pre/post surveys and other evaluation tools, many of which are available on their website at  Additional evaluation support is available by contacting CATCH at

Additional Information

Website:  The CATCH website ( includes information about CATCH, a description of programs (pre-k, K-5, 6-8, afterschool, training, CATCH MEND), modules, news and events, research, case studies, and a grant finder.

Contact Person:

Lindsay Edgar
CATCH Global Foundation
Phone: 855-500-0050