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The CATCH Program is a PSE change and direct education intervention that addresses the physical, mental, and emotional health of youth through its Mind-Heart-Body approach and coordinated framework. Program objectives include improving children's nutrition choices, increasing physical activity, and creating a healthy school culture and climate that supports and empowers children in a developing and practicing positive health behaviors that support their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Since 1988, CATCH has been empowering school communities to cultivate Whole Child wellness as a lever for student success and social equity.

Intervention Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time

SNAP-Ed Strategies: Direct Education, PSE Change

Intervention Reach and Adoption

The CATCH Program was first created over 30 years ago as part of a National Institutes of Health study to provide school-age children with the knowledge, skills, and environmental support needed to make healthy choices and engage in positive nutrition and physical activity behaviors. Since then, CATCH has been continually updated and expanded to meet the changing needs of school and district wellness leaders and to align with current best practices for health education and health promotion. Initially administered by the University of Texas School of Public Health, CATCH Global Foundation was formed in 2014 to continue program development and increase access for schools in communities negatively impacted by social determinants of health. Today, more than 15,000 educational sites use CATCH programs, reaching over 3 million students each year.

Settings: Schools, Community-wide, Faith-based centers, Farmers Markets, Gardens (School/Community)

Age/Population Group: Elementary School, Middle School

Race: All 

Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

CATCH's platform of K-8 health and physical education programs aligns to the CDC's Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model, which encourages school communities to consider their policies and practices across ten domains, of which CATCH addresses seven: health education, physical education and physical activity, nutrition environment, social and emotional climate, employee wellness, family engagement, and community involvement.

Along with the following intervention components, CATCH provides robust training opportunities and technical assistance for program implementers:

CATCH Health Ed Journeys - CATCH's comprehensive, standards-aligned health education curriculum for grades K-8. In addition to covering nutrition and physical activity, Health Ed Journeys includes lessons for foundational health literacy, physical health & hygiene, mental health, substance misuse prevention, and injury & violence prevention & safety. Flexible, age-differentiated lessons can be used in various contexts and environments and taught in one session or broken down into shorter segments. More information about Health Ed Journeys is available at:

CATCH PE Journeys - PE Journeys is a developmentally-appropriate physical education and physical activity curriculum for grades K-8 that teaches physical literacy, movement skills, physical fitness, social emotional competencies, and cognitive understanding of the importance of lifelong physical activity. Lessons are designed to promote enjoyment and participation in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity while emphasizing non-elimination games for children of all skill levels and physical abilities. For more information:

CATCH Coordination Kit - This resource provides school wellness leaders and teams with a step-by-step guide for engaging the entire school community in PSE change to create a campus-wide culture of health. Through a yearly sequence of activities aligned to CATCH's unique See-Hear-Do-Engage framework, students see teachers and other adults being healthy role models, hear positive and coordinated health messages, do healthy eating and physical activity behaviors for which they are recognized and rewarded, and benefit as their families become engaged in school health. For more information:

Additionally, CATCH offers evidence-based and evidence-informed programs for youth vaping prevention, social emotional learning, oral health education, and sun safety. More information on these programs can be found on their website,

Intervention Materials

A complete listing of intervention materials may be viewed on CATCH's program webpages:

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

Evidence Base: 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)
IndividualST1, ST3MT1, MT3LT1, LT3 
Environmental SettingsST6MT5, MT6 
Sectors of Influence   
Evaluation Materials

CATCH offers student and teacher surveys and other evaluation tools. Evaluation support available by contacting CATCH at

Success Story

Active In-Home Learning: Virtual, Live Physical Activity in Orland, CA:  

Additional Information


Contact Person:

Amy Moyer

Director of Educational Partnerships

Phone: 855-500-0050



*Updated as if January 11, 2024