Penn Nursing Students Partner With Local High School to Evaluate Elementary Students' Health

PHILADELPHIA –- Students at West Philadelphia’s Sayre High School who are taking a health-education class have been working with University of Pennsylvania nurse practitioner students and Penn School of Nursing faculty to learn accurate growth and diabetes-risk-factor assessment.

They are evaluating children in the Beacon after-school program at Sayre and providing nutrition education and a dance program designed to increase physical activity.

Terri Lipman, a professor in Penn Nursing, has been supervising the three-year-long project, funded through Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships. Last year, 34% of the children assessed were identified as being at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Lipman's research has involved growth assessment of 900 children in eight U.S. cities.

"Prior to the Sayre project, we found that two out of three children were measured inaccurately in primary-care practices," she said. "This could lead to the delayed diagnosis of a growth disorder.

“Obesity and Type 2 diabetes disproportionately affects minority, urban populations, and our goal is to implement culturally appropriate assessments and interventions such as this,” Lipman said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The final phases of data collection and of providing nutrition and dance programs will be at Sayre High School at 59th and Walnut streets on Feb. 19, 21, 26 and 28 from 4 to 6 p.m