Program

Oct 04, 2008

OVERVIEW

M-SPAN is an intervention with
environmental, policy, and social marketing components. The program was
evaluated to determine its impact on the physical activity and fat intake
of middle school students. Researchers found that the students in
experimental schools had greater increases in physical activity than
students in control schools; however, significant effects were found for
boys, they weren’t for girls. The intervention did not result in
significant differences in terms of fat intake. A significant reduction in
Body Mass Index (BMI) was found for boys in the experimental group, but
not for girls.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:
Middle school (grades 6-8) students on
campus

M-SPAN aims to increase the
students’ energy expenditure from physical activity and decrease grams of
total and saturated fat purchased at or brought to school by the
students. Through five 3-hour staff development sessions, student physical
activity time are increased, teacher instructional skills are improved,
and new physical activity curriculum materials are provided.

Three groups form to discuss
ways to implement changes in the physical activity and nutritional aspects
of the school. Administrators, faculty, staff, parents, and students meet
in three 90-minute sessions over two years to discuss policies to improve
physical activity and nutrition plans and goals. Student health
committees, made up of 9 to 12 students, conducted monthly activities such
as taste tests and after school activities. Parents were educated through
school newsletters, posters, and brochures at PTA meetings and open
houses. Parents were exposed to strategies to improve students’ physical
activity and nutritional habits.

These groups change both the
physical activity and nutritional practices at school. Physical activity
is promoted before and after school and after lunch by teachers and
through programs, flyers, school bulletins, newsletters, and PTA meetings.
Equipment is made available for students to use for physical activity.
Physical education teachers give class credit for physical activity
conducted outside of physical education class.

In the nutrition aspect of the
program, child nutrition service staff is given 11 hours of training with
the goal of reducing the fat content in foods through changing the
purchasing, preparation, and serving procedures. Vendors select low-fat
items and donate foods for sampling and feedback. Parents are encouraged
to supply their children with low-fat foods to bring from home for lunch,
as well. Newsletters, signs, meetings, and contests keep the students and
teachers aware of the nutrition changes in the school.

The cost of a standard training
for up to 40 attendees is approximately $2,700.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Sallis,
J.F. et al (2003). Environmental Interventions for Eating and Physical
Activity: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Middle Schools. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 24(3), 209-217.

Evaluated population:
Twenty-four public middle schools in San
Diego County, California participated, with a mean enrollment across
schools of 1109 students. Forty-nine percent of participants were female,
44.5% were nonwhite, 39.5% received free or reduced schools meals, and
36.4% were bused to school.

Approach: Schools were
randomly assigned to the M-SPAN intervention group or a control group.
Physical activity was assessed at baseline, one year, and two years after
baseline by observation of activity during physical education class and
during play and leisure activities before, during, and after school.
Nutrition was assessed at baseline, one year, and two years after baseline
by documenting the lunch menu, bag lunches, and interviewing cooks. Items
sold at student stores were recorded by observers.

Results: Researchers found that the schools in the experimental group increased
their level of physical activity over time at a greater rate than schools
in the control group (a large effect size of 0.93). Significant impacts
were found for boys (a large effect size of 1.10), but not for girls (a
small effect size of 0.37). Boys in the experimental group increased
their physical activity both in and out of physical education (in about
equal amounts), but girls in this group increased their physical activity
mostly during physical education. There were no significant differences
found in total fat, nor saturated fat intake across schools and no data
were available to allow for gender-specific analyses. The intervention was
found to significantly reduce BMI among boys in the experimental group
when compared to the control group, but no differences were found for
girls.

McKenzie,
T.L., Sallis, J.F., Prochaska, J.J., Conway, T.L., Marshall, S.J., &
Rosengard, P. (2004). Evaluation of a Two-Year Middle-School Physical
Education Intervention: M-SPAN. Medicine and Science in Sports and
Exercise, 36
(8), 1382-1388.

Evaluated
Population: 
Twenty-four public middle schools in San Diego County,
California participated, with a mean enrollment across schools of 1109
students. Forty-nine percent of participants were female, 45% were
nonwhite, and 39 % received free or reduced schools meals.

Approach:
This intervention was focused on physical education classes only. Only the
five 3-hour sessions described in the previous study were provided in this
follow-up. Observations were conducted using SOFIT (System for Observing
Fitness Instruction Time), which provides records of student activity
levels, the lesson context, and teacher behavior. physical education
classes were observed during 11 randomly selected days at each school. In
addition, researchers administered surveys to students which asked how
much they enjoyed and attended physical education classes.

Results:
There was a significant increase in the amount of time intervention
students spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity during physical
education classes when compared with the control group (a large effect
size of 0.88). The impact was larger among boys (a large effect size of
0.98) than with girls (a medium effect size of 0.68). There was no
significant impact on the proportion of classtime students spent engaged
in moderate to vigorous physical activity or on physical education
enjoyment.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

McKenzie,
T.L., Sallis, J.F., Prochaska, J.J., Conway, T.L., Marshall, S.J., &
Rosengard, P. (2004). Evaluation of a Two-Year Middle-School Physical
Education Intervention: M-SPAN. Medicine and Science in Sports and
Exercise, 36
(8), 1382-1388.

Sallis, J.F.
et al (2003). Environmental Interventions for Eating and Physical
Activity: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Middle Schools. American Journal of Preventive Medicine24(3), 209-217.

For more information about the program or program implementation training, please visit:
http://www.sparkpe.org/physical-education/middle-school
/or http://www.sparkpe.org/physical-education/middle-school/program-prices/

KEYWORDS: Children, Adolescents, Males and Females (Co-ed), Middle School, School-Based, Parent or Family Component, Nutrition, Health Status/Conditions

Program
information last updated on 10/4/08.

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