Historical Impact

Shape Up Somerville

Shape Up Somerville was one of the first studies of its kind to study the impact of policies and environments on child health. It changed the health of an entire community.

Shape Up Somerville: Eat Smart. Play Hard, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was a three-year, environmental change intervention designed to prevent obesity in culturally diverse, high-risk, early-elementary school children. Shape Up Somerville developed and implemented strategies designed to create energy balance for 1st 3rd graders in Somerville, Massachusetts. In before-, during-, and after-school environments, interventions were focused on increasing the number of physical activity options available to children throughout the day and on improving dietary choices.

The pillars of this study have evolved and its values are embedded in the daily work and decisions within the City of Somerville and broader community.

Browse Shape Up Somerville Publications

Coffield, E., Nihiser, A. J., Sherry, B., & Economos, C. D. (2015). Shape Up Somerville: change in parent body mass indexes during a child-targeted, community-based environmental change intervention. American Journal of Public Health, 105(2), e83–e89. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2014.302361

Coffield, E., Nihiser, A., Carlson, S., Collins, J., Cawley, J., Lee, S., & Economos, C. (2019). Shape Up Somerville’s return on investment: Multi-group exposure generates net-benefits in a child obesity intervention. Preventive Medicine Reports, 16, 100954. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.100954

Economos, C. D., Hyatt, R. R., Goldberg, J. P., Must, A., Naumova, E. N., Collins, J. J., & Nelson, M. E. (2007). A community intervention reduces BMI z-score in children: Shape Up Somerville first year results. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 15(5), 1325–1336. https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2007.155

Economos, C. D., Sacheck, J. M., Chui, K. K. H., Irizzary, L., Guillemont, J., Collins, J. J., & Hyatt, R. R. (2008). School-based behavioral assessment tools are reliable and valid for measurement of fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, and television viewing in young children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(4), 695-701. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2008.01.001

Economos, C. D., Folta, S. C., Goldberg, J., Nelson, M., Hudson, D., Collins, J., … & Lawson, E. (2009). Peer reviewed: a community-based restaurant initiative to increase availability of healthy menu options in Somerville, Massachusetts: shape up Somerville. Preventing Chronic Disease, 6(3). PMID: 19527574

Economos, C. D., & Curtatone, J. A. (2010). Shaping up Somerville: a community initiative in Massachusetts. Preventive Medicine, 50, S97-S98. 10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.10.017 

Economos, C. D., Hyatt, R. R., Must, A., Goldberg, J. P., Kuder, J., Naumova, E. N., Collins, J. J., & Nelson, M. E. (2013). Shape Up Somerville two-year results: a community-based environmental change intervention sustains weight reduction in children. Preventive Medicine, 57(4), 322–327. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.06.001

Folta, S. C., Bell, R., Economos, C., Landers, S., & Goldberg, J. P. (2006). Psychosocial factors associated with young elementary school children’s intentions to consume legumes: a test of the theory of reasoned action. American Journal of Health Promotion, 21(1), 13-15. https://doi.org/10.1177/089011710602100104

Folta, S. C., Goldberg, J. P., Economos, C., Bell, R., Landers, S., & Hyatt, R. (2006). Assessing the use of school public address systems to deliver nutrition messages to children: Shape up Somerville—audio adventures. Journal of School Health, 76(9), 459-464. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1746-1561.2006.00141.x

Folta, S. C., Kuder, J. F., Goldberg, J. P., Hyatt, R. R., Must, A., Naumova, E. N., Nelson, M. E., & Economos, C. D. (2013). Changes in diet and physical activity resulting from the Shape Up Somerville community intervention. BMC Pediatrics, 13, 157. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2431-13-157

Goldberg, J. P., Collins, J. J., Folta, S. C., McLarney, M. J., Kozower, C., Kuder, J., Clark, V., & Economos, C. D. (2009). Retooling food service for early elementary school students in Somerville, Massachusetts: the Shape Up Somerville experience. Preventing Chronic Disease, 6(3), A103. PMID: 19527575

Hatfield, D. P., Sliwa, S. A., Folta, S. C., Economos, C. D., & Goldberg, J. P. (2017). The critical role of communications in a multilevel obesity-prevention intervention: lessons learned for alcohol educators. Patient Education and Counseling, 100, S3-S10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2016.01.005

Hauser, S. I., Economos, C. D., Nelson, M. E., Goldberg, J. P., Hyatt, R. R., Naumova, E. N., … & Must, A. (2014). Household and family factors related to weight status in first through third graders: a cross-sectional study in Eastern Massachusetts. BMC Pediatrics, 14(1), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2431-14-167

Hennessy, E., Economos, C. D., & Hammond, R. A. (2020). Integrating complex systems methods to advance obesity prevention intervention research. Health Education & Behavior, 47(2), 213-223. https://doi.org/10.1177/1090198119898649

Tovar, A., Lividini, K., Economos, C. D., Folta, S., Goldberg, J., & Must, A. (2010). School’s out: what are urban children doing? The Summer Activity Study of Somerville Youth (SASSY). BMC Pediatrics, 10(1), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2431-10-16

existing network

Learn more about the other communities where Catalyzing Communities is already making a difference in the lives of children and families.