Program

Apr 01, 2009

OVERVIEW

The Western
Australian Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition (WASPAN) program is a
school-based obesity prevention intervention. The program has physical activity
and nutrition components. In an evaluation of the program, 18 schools were
randomly assigned to have their children participate in one of the following
three study groups: 1) the WASPAN program group, 2) the WASPAN program with
additional physical education enrichment group, or 3) a no-treatment control
group. Results indicated that the intervention groups experienced significant
increases in physical fitness relative to the control group at the short- and
long-term follow-ups. However, the intervention did not impact BMI.
Furthermore, success on other obesity indicators, including physical activity,
skinfold thickness, and nutrition, varied by subgroup and follow-up time point.

DESCRIPTION OF
PROGRAM

Target
population: 
11-year-old children

The Western
Australian Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition (WASPAN) program is a
school-based intervention designed to combat and prevent obesity in children.
The program consists of physical activity and nutrition components, and there is
also the option of adding a physical education enrichment component. The
program is implemented over two, ten-week school terms.

The physical
activity program consists of six initial classroom lessons to establish a
rationale for the intervention. These sessions are followed by daily 20 minute
fitness sessions that foster small group activities and cater to individual
fitness levels. These fitness sessions typically occur four times per week.

The nutrition
component consists of one hour of class time per week devoted to learning about
healthy eating. Children are taught relevant skill-building techniques, such as
formulating grocery lists, learning healthy and age appropriate recipes, and
learning how to resist peer pressure to eat unhealthily.

The optional
physical education enrichment component encourages student activity outside of
the classroom. Children are asked to keep daily physical activity diaries,
which are used by teachers to evaluate each individual’s preferred activities.
Teachers and students also work together to establish physical fitness goals and
assess how these goals could be obtained. Additionally, parents are asked to
monitor diary completion and to encourage increased physical activity.

EVALUATION(S) OF
PROGRAM

Burke, V.,
Milligan, R.A.K., Thompson, C., Taggart, A.C., Dunbar, D.L., Spencer, M.J.,
Medland, A., Gracey, M.P., Vandongen, R., & Beilin, L.J. (1998). A controlled
trial of health promotion programs in 11-year-olds using physical activity
“enrichment” for higher risk children. The Journal of Pediatrics, 132(5),
840-848.

Evaluated
population:
800 11-year-olds from 18 schools in Australia served as the
sample for this evaluation. A subset of 230 children at high risk for
developing cardiovascular disease was examined in additional analyses. These
children were classified as being high-risk based measures of blood pressure,
physical fitness, body fat percentage, and blood cholesterol.

Approach:
Each of the participating 18 high schools was randomly assigned to one of the
following three study groups: 1) the WASPAN program group, 2) the WASPAN
program with additional physical education enrichment group, or 3) a
no-treatment control group. Individuals attending schools receiving only the
WASPAN program participated in the WASPAN physical activity and nutrition
components of the intervention. Individuals attending schools assigned to the
WASPAN plus additional physical education enrichment participated in the same
WASPAN physical activity and nutrition activities as the first study group, but
also received extra physical activity intervention exercises. Individuals
attending the schools assigned to the no-treatment control group received the
standard school curriculum.

Students from all
of the schools were assessed at baseline, immediately after the intervention,
and 6 months after the conclusion of the intervention. Measures of
out-of-school physical activity, physical fitness, skinfold thickness, BMI, and
nutrition were used during these assessments.

Results:

Physical
activity.
There were no significant differences across study groups with
regards to out-of-school physical activity immediately following the
intervention. However, at the 6-month follow-up, boys in the enrichment group
significantly decreased their television viewing compared with boys in the
WASPAN and control groups.

Physical
fitness.
Results indicated that children in both the WASPAN and the
enrichment groups improved significantly more than children in the control group
on measures of physical fitness immediately after the completion of the
intervention, and these impacts remained at the 6-month follow-up.

Skinfold
thickness.
Immediately following the intervention, children in the WASPAN
and enrichment groups had experienced significantly greater decreases in
skinfold thickness relative to children in the control group. At the 6-month
follow-up, only girls in the WASPAN group had significantly greater decreases in
skinfold thickness than girls in the other two intervention groups.

BMI.
Relative to the control group, children in the intervention groups did not show
a significant decrease in BMI immediately after the intervention or at the
6-month follow-up.

Nutrition.
Immediately following the intervention, high-risk girls in the enrichment group
reported lower sodium intake relative to high-risk girls in the WASPAN and
control groups. There were no other significant differences in sodium or fat
intake immediately following the intervention or at the 6-month follow-up.

SOURCES FOR MORE
INFORMATION

References:

Burke, V.,
Milligan, R.A.K., Thompson, C., Taggart, A.C., Dunbar, D.L., Spencer, M.J.,
Medland, A., Gracey, M.P., Vandongen, R., & Beilin, L.J. (1998). A controlled
trial of health promotion programs in 11-year-olds using physical activity
“enrichment” for higher risk children. The Journal of Pediatrics, 132(5),
840-848.

Program categorized in this
guide according to the following:

Evaluated participant ages: 11
year olds

Evaluated participant grades: N/A

Program age ranges in the guide:
Middle Childhood

Program components: School-Based,
Parent or Family Component

Measured outcomes: Physical Health

Keywords: Middle
Childhood (6-11), School-based, Children (3-11), Nutrition, Overweight, Obese

Program
information last updated on 4/1/09.

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