Program

Jun 10, 2010

OVERVIEW

The FitKid Project is an eight-month afterschool
program for elementary school students to bring positive changes in body
composition, cardiovascular fitness, blood pressure, and cholesterol. The
program is intended to create a “fitogenic” environment that encourages positive
health benefits. No significant impacts have been found for this program.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target Population:
third-grade children in public schools in
Georgia

The FitKid program is designed to be open,
desirable, and easily accessible. Efforts were made to make the program
culturally sensitive by making sure some of the staff in the FitKid program are
African American and by using ethnically diverse images in the print material.
Children are allowed to help make decisions, such as the activities for the day,
and the program is designed to be accessible by conducting the program in the
child’s school. Healthy snacks and homework assistance (40 minutes), as well as
free transportation, are provided for the children.

The fitness part of the program (two hours) is
designed to keep all participants moving continuously, for example, games and
skill-building activities are modified to encourage longer periods of moderate
to vigorous physical activity. Positive reinforcement is encouraged, and the
staff are teachers and coaches from the local schools.

Cost Information:
The cost of implementing the program was split
up in four main ways: 63 percent for program staff salary, four percent for
instructor training, seven percent for intervention material, and 25 percent for
transportation. This resulted in a total cost of $174,070, or $558 per student
for the entire seven months.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Yin, Z., Gutin, B., Johnson, M. H., Hanes,
J., Moore, J. B., Cavnar, M., et al. (2005). An environmental approach to
obesity prevention in children: Medical College of Georgia FitKid Project year 1
results. Obesity Research, 13(12), 2153-2161.

Evaluated Population:
FitKid was evaluated in eighteen public schools
in Augusta/Richmond County. A final, total sample of 447 third-grade children
was evaluated. At baseline (N=601), the children were 61 percent black, 31
percent white, and 8 percent “other race.” Forty-eight percent were boys, and 68
percent were eligible for free/reduced-price lunch.

Approach:
Eighteen schools were randomized either to the
FitKid intervention or to a control group.Measures taken were body-mass
index, waist, percent body fat, fat mass, fat-free mass, cardiovascular disease
risk factors, cardiovascular fitness, systolic blood pressure (the top number),
diastolic blood pressure (bottom number), non-fasting total cholesterol,
high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (good cholesterol), Criterion-Referenced
Competency Tests (reading, English/language arts, mathematics, science, and
social studies achievement).

Body composition measures were taken with a
specialized x-ray machine. Cardiovascular fitness was measured by heart rate.
Blood pressure was taken with a mobile machine that automatically takes
measurements and fills a cuff around the arm with air. Cholesterol was measured
with a machine that takes information from a finger prick. The
Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests are standardized exams taken by Georgia
students at the end of the school year.

Results:
Although positive trends were noted, no
significant impacts were found on any of the measures compared between the
FitKid group children and the control group children at the end of the first
year of the project.

SOURCES FOR INFORMATION

References:

Yin, Z., Gutin, B., Johnson, M. H., Hanes, J.,
Moore, J. B., Cavnar, M., et al. (2005). An environmental approach to obesity
prevention in children: Medical College of Georgia FitKid Project year 1
results. Obesity Research, 13(12), 2153-2161.

Yin, Z., Hanes, J., Moore, J. B., Humbles, P.,
Barbeau, P., & Gutin, B. (2005). An after-school physical activity program for
obesity prevention in children: The Medical College of Georgia FitKid Project.
Evaluation and the Health Professions, 28(1), 67-89.

KEYWORDS:
Children (3-11); Elementary; Males and Females
(Co-ed); White/Caucasian; Black/African American; Cost Information is Available;
School-Based; After School Program; Health Status/Conditions; Obesity; Other
Education; Reading/Literacy; Mathematics.

Program information last updated 6/10/10