West Virginia University Prevention Research Center

Investigating the Effects of a School And Family-Based Physical Activity Intervention on Elementary Students’ Physical Activity, Fitness, Cardiovascular Risk, and Academic Performance in the Rural Setting

Description

Childhood obesity impacts 1 in 3 children in the United States. The benefits of sustained physical activity for preventing childhood obesity and other related health conditions are well documented, and school settings are often used to identify best practices for promoting children’s physical activity. The Guide to Community Preventive Services documents sufficient evidence for enhanced physical education, teacher training, and multi-component programs that address physical activity, physical education, and nutrition. Evidence for other strategies, such as activity breaks throughout the school day and parent involvement in promoting physical activity, is emerging. Further research is needed, however, to determine the cost-effectiveness of these strategies, best practices for implementation, as well as their impact on children’s health and academic performance. For this project, researchers will test strategies in school and home settings that are emerging but not well studied. In collaboration with state and local departments of health and education, the research project will aim to:

  1. Define and document current school physical education and recess practices among elementary schools in West Virginia and compare student health and academic performance based on school practices.
  2. Compare added benefits and cost-effectiveness of two emerging strategies (one school- and one family-based strategy) to current physical education and recess practices based on children’s physical activity, health, and academic performance.
  3. Translate research results into environmental and policy recommendations at the local, regional, and state levels to increase student access to effective physical activity and physical education.

Results of this project are expected to provide evidence-based opportunities for schools to build upon existing physical education activities in a cost-effective manner using the identified strategies. Once these strategies are defined and available, there is the promise that children’s physical activity will improve, particularly among children living in areas with limited resources and varied physical education and recess opportunities. It is also expected that these strategies will be supported by local education and public health systems through the establishment of a Research into Practice advisory council. This council will be responsible for developing specific products that will be disseminated to local, regional, and state-based stakeholder groups to directly promote physical activity in schools.

Project Identifier Investigating the Effects of a School And Family-Based Physical Activity Intervention on Elementary Students’ Physical Activity, Fitness, Cardiovascular Risk, and Academic Performance in the Rural Setting

Funding Source PRC Program

Project Status Active

Host Institution West Virginia University

Health Topics Physical Activity

Research Setting School or school district

Race or ethnicity White

Gender No specific focus

Age group Children (Ages 9-12 years)

 

Contact Information Center
West Virginia University School of Public Health
West Virginia Prevention Research Center
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center
1 Medical Center Drive
P.O. Box 9190
Morgantown, WV 26506–9190

Principal Investigator/Director
Geri A. Dino, PhD
Phone: (304) 293–1898
E-mail: gdino@hsc.wvu.edu

PRC Deputy Director
Peter Giacobbi, Jr.
Phone: (304) 293-5970
E-mail: prgiacobbi@mail.wvu.edu