Program

Jul 24, 2007

OVERVIEW

The “Fit for Life” activity badge was designed to increase
physical fitness among Boy Scouts. In a random assignment study of 42
troops, boys in troops working on the Fit for Life badge were compared with
boys in troops working on a similar, but non-fitness-related badge. Among
troops that worked on their badges during the fall, no differences in BMI or
daily physical activity emerged between groups over the course of the
intervention. Among troops that worked on their badges during the spring,
boys assigned to work on the Fit for Life badge significantly increased their
light activity and marginally decreased their sedentary time, relative to boys
assigned to work on the control badge. There were no differences between
groups on frequency of participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity,
however.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Boy Scouts

In order to earn the Fit for Life badge, scouts worked on
physical activities for 20 minutes each troop meeting. Scouts also
received a drills booklet that taught ways to work on these activities outside
of meetings as well. Scouts were granted access to a Fit for Life website
that included animated role-modeling comics, knowledge games, and goal-setting
and review charts. Boys were encouraged to log on to this website at
least twice a week and to use it to track their fitness goals.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Jago, R., Baranowski, T., Baranowski, J. C., Thompson,
D., Cullen, K. W., Watson, K., & Liu, Y. (2006). Fit for Life
Boy Scout Badge: Outcome Evaluation of a Troop and Internet Intervention.
Preventative Medecine, 42, 181-187.

Evaluated population: A total of 473 Boy Scouts from 42 troops
in the greater Houston
area served as the study sample for this investigation. These boys were
all between the ages of 10 and 14 years old. 73% were white, 14% were
Hispanic, 4% were black, and 9% were of other ethnicity.

Approach: Troops were randomly assigned to the
treatment group or to the control group. Treatment troops participated in
a nine-week implementation of the Fit for Life intervention while control
troops took part in a “mirror image” fruit and vegetable intervention.

All boys had their height and weight measured at baseline
and again immediately after the intervention and six months later. Boys
also had their physical activity monitored for three consecutive days at each
assessment using accelerometers.

Results: Boys in treatment troops did not differ from
boys in control troops on BMI at any time point. Treatment boys who
worked on the Fit for Life badge during the fall did not improve their physical
activity over the course of the intervention. Treatment boys who worked
on the Fit for Life badge during the spring did show some improvement,
however.

Relative to boys who worked on the control group badge
during the spring, scouts who worked on the Fit for Life badge during the
spring significantly increased their light physical activity and marginally
decreased their sedentary time between baseline and the end of the
intervention. However, these impacts were no longer present six months
later. The intervention had no impact on frequency of participation in
moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Researchers note that spring weather conditions are more
conducive to outdoor activity than are fall weather conditions and speculate
that this might account for the intervention’s greater success during the
spring. They suggest adapting the program to include a greater emphasis
on indoor activities, so as to render it pertinent and effective in all
seasons.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

More information on Boy Scout programs available at:

http://www.scouting.org/

References:

Jago, R., Baranowski, T., Baranowski, J. C., Thompson, D.,
Cullen, K. W., Watson, K., & Liu, Y. (2006). Fit for Life Boy
Scout Badge: Outcome Evaluation of a Troop and Internet Intervention. Preventative
Medecine, 42
, 181-187.

KEYWORDS: Physical
Health, Gender Specific (Male Only), Physical Fitness/Activity, White or
Caucasian, Hispanic or Latino, Black or African American, Middle Childhood
(6-11), Adolescence (12-17), Children, Adolescents

Program information last updated 7/24/07