Penn Nursing Earns City Citation for Work on Childhood Obesity and Diabetes in West Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA — A group of students from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing who worked to prevent childhood obesity and diabetes in elementary school children from West Philadelphia has been commended by Mayor Michael Nutter.

The students, who worked with Penn Nursing professor Terri Lipman, partnered with local high school students to evaluate diabetes risk factors among 233 children in West Philadelphia’s Sayre Beacon after-school program. The research found that 30 percent of participants were at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Acting as guest lecturers, Penn Nursing students educated Sayre High School students about normal vs. abnormal growth and development and body mass index. They also provided instruction on how to evaluate children for diabetes risk factors. The students worked to educate the children and their parents about preventing childhood obesity and diabetes.

”This is a group of students who are exemplars of what engagement is all about,” Afaf Meleis, dean of Penn Nursing, said. “They develop knowledge and advance science in order to make a difference.”

Lipman, who established the project in 2005, said one of the “amazing ripple effects of the project” is that nursing students engaged high school students and may have directed them along a career path toward nursing.