Program

Jul 01, 2009

OVERVIEW

The Physical Activity and Teenage Health (PATH) program is
a school-based intervention for adolescent girls designed to prevent risk
factors associated with cardiovascular disease. In an evaluation of the
program, individuals were randomly assigned to receive the PATH program or to
continue participating in their regularly scheduled physical education classes.
Those receiving the intervention experienced significant, positive changes in
body fat percentage, blood pressure, heart health knowledge, and eating
breakfast compared to those in the control group. However, there were no
significant differences across groups on measures of BMI, cholesterol, maximum
oxygen uptake, self-perception of health, non-school-related physical activity,
and dietary habits.

In another evaluation of the program, participants were
randomly assigned to receive the intervention or to continue participating in
their physical education classes. Results indicated that the intervention led
to significant increases in cardiovascular health knowledge. Additionally, the
participating female adolescents experienced significant improvements in their
dietary behaviors, cholesterol, and cardiovascular fitness.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: adolescents.

The Physical Activity and Teenage Health (PATH) program is
a school-based intervention designed to decrease cardiovascular risk factors in
adolescents. The PATH program replaces regular physical education classes and
is implemented during 30-minute sessions, five days a week for 12 weeks. The
first five to ten minutes of each class are devoted to a lecture and/or
discussion on a relevant cardiovascular health topic. During these lessons,
suggestions are made for modifying health behaviors. The remainder of each
class is devoted to vigorous physical exercise. Participants engage in both
strength and aerobic training.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Bayne-Smith, M., Fardy, P.S., Azzollini, A., Magel, J.,
Schmitz, K.H., & Agin, D. (2004). Improvements in heart health behaviors and
reduction in coronary artery disease risk factors in urban teenaged girls
through a school-based intervention: The PATH program. American Journal of
Public Health, 94
(9), 1538-1543.

Evaluated population: 442 adolescent females
between the ages of 14 and 19 and attending three high schools in the New York
City area served as the sample for this evaluation. The racial and ethnic
breakdown was as follows: 10% white, 46% African-American, 29% Hispanic, and
15% Asian-American.

Approach: During year one of the study, individuals
students were assigned to either the PATH program or to continue participating
in their regular physical education classes. Due to scheduling difficulties,
girls were randomly assigned by classes during the remainder of the study. The
program was implemented in daily 30-minute sessions over a 12 week span.

Participants were assessed at baseline and two weeks after
the conclusion of the intervention. Researchers assessed the girls using
measures of weight, BMI, body fat percentage, blood pressure, cholesterol,
maximum oxygen uptake, heart health knowledge, self-perception of health,
non-school-related physical activity, dietary habits, and breakfast eating
habits.

Results: Results indicated participants in the
intervention group experienced significant, positive changes on measures of body
fat percentage (ES = 0.42), blood pressure (ES = 0.28, 0.33), heart health
knowledge (ES = 0.21), and eating breakfast (ES = 0.27) compared to those in the
control group. However, there were no significant differences between groups on
measures of BMI, cholesterol, maximum oxygen uptake, self-perception of health,
non-school-related physical activity, and dietary habits.

Fardy, P.S., White, R.E.C., Haltiwanger-Schmitz, K.,
Magel, J.R., McDermott, K.J., Clark, L.T., & Hurster, M.M. (1996). Coronary
disease risk factor reduction and behavior modification in minority
adolescents: The PATH program. Journal of Adolescent Health, 18,
247-253.

Evaluated population: 346 9th through
12th grade students attending inner New York City public schools
served as the sample for this evaluation. The sample was 58% female. The
racial and ethnic breakdown for the participants was as follows: 47%
African-American, 21% Hispanic, 9% Asian-American, and 3% white.

Approach: Upon entrance into the study,
participants were randomly assigned to either participate in the PATH
intervention or a control group. Students in the PATH program participated in
the intervention as described above. The 30-minute program sessions were
implemented five times a week over an 11 week period. Students receiving the
intervention were also given workbook assignments. Students in the control
group participated in a sport skill-oriented physical education class. The
focal sport in these classes was volleyball. The frequency and duration of the
control classes and the overall duration of the program were not cited in this
article.

Participants were assessed at baseline and following the
conclusion of the intervention. Students were measured for BMI, cholesterol,
body fat percentage, blood pressure, cigarette smoking, physical activity,
dietary habits, stress, self-perception of health, health attitude,
cardiovascular fitness, and cardiovascular health knowledge.

Results: Results indicated that participants in the
intervention group had significantly greater increases in cardiovascular health
knowledge than control group participants (ES = girls: 0.44, boys: 0.53).
Additionally, girls in the intervention group significantly improved their
dietary behaviors (ES = 0.11), cholesterol (ES = 0.03), and cardiovascular
fitness (ES = 1.33) relative to girls in the control group. There were no other
differences across study groups on any of the other health indicators.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Bayne-Smith, M., Fardy, P.S., Azzollini, A., Magel, J.,
Schmitz, K.H., & Agin, D. (2004). Improvements in heart health behaviors and
reduction in coronary artery disease risk factors in urban teenaged girls
through a school-based intervention: The PATH program. American Journal of
Public Health, 94
(9), 1538-1543.

Fardy, P.S., White, R.E.C., Haltiwanger-Schmitz, K., Magel,
J.R., McDermott, K.J., Clark, L.T., & Hurster, M.M. (1996). Coronary disease
risk factor reduction and behavior modification in minority adolescents: The
PATH program. Journal of Adolescent Health, 18,247-253.

Keywords: Adolescents, Youth, High School, Co-ed, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino,
Multi-racial, School-based, Skills Training, Urban, Nutrition, Physical
Activity, Weight

Program information last updated on 7/1/09.