Program

Sep 30, 2009

OVERVIEW

The Untitled School-Based Exercise Education Program
combines aerobic exercise sessions with exercise curriculum as a means of
reducing blood pressure and body fat in adolescents. In an evaluation of the
intervention, five middle schools were randomly assigned to have their students
participate in one of the following four study groups: 1) exercise only, 2)
exercise education only, 3) combined exercise and exercise education, 4)
no-treatment control. Results indicated that individuals in the combined
exercise and education group experienced the most positive changes, with
significantly great decreases in skinfold thickness and increases in aerobic
power relative to other groups. Additionally, adolescents participating in all
three intervention groups had significantly greater decreases in blood pressure
relative to controls. However, there were no differences across groups on
changes in BMI.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:Middle school students.

The Untitled School-Based Exercise Education Program is a
blood pressure and body fat reduction intervention for young adolescents. The
program has exercise and exercise education components. The exercise component
requires the children to participate in 30 minutes of aerobic activity three
days a week for eight weeks. Each exercise session consists of a five-minute
warm-up, 20 to 30 minutes in aerobic exercise, and a five-minute cool-down.
Aerobic exercise includes various lifestyle activities, such as soccer,
handball, basketball, and strength and endurance training. Training sessions
are implemented during the children’s regular physical education classes and
differ from standard PE curriculum in that they focus on aerobic exercise rather
than skill-building.

The exercise education component delivers curriculum on the
risks associated with smoking and the health benefits resulting from exercise.
The curriculum is presented during two classes per week, over a period of eight
weeks.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

McMurray, R.G., Harrell, J.S., Bangdiwala, S.I.,
Bradley, C.B., Deng, S., & Levine, A. (2002). A school-based intervention can
reduce body fat and blood pressure in young adolescents. Journal of
Adolescent Health, 31,
125-132.

Evaluated population:1,140 adolescent from five
middle schools located in rural areas of North Carolina served as the sample for
this evaluation. The sample was 55% female. The racial and ethnic breakdown
was as follows: 64% white, 24% African-American, and 12% Hispanic, Asian,
American-Indian, and other ethnicities. Parent education breakdown included 17%
who had not graduated from high school, 49% with at least some college
experience, and 33% with a college degree. Additionally, 47% of families had
annual incomes less than $30,000, 29% were between $30,000 and $50,000, and 24%
had incomes greater than $50,000.

Approach:Schools were randomly assigned to have
their students participate in one of the following four study groups: 1)
exercise only, 2) exercise education only, 3) combined exercise and exercise
education, 4) no-treatment control. Participants in the exercise only condition
received only the eight-week School-Based Exercise Education Program physical
fitness sessions, described in detail above. Students in the exercise education
only condition received only the School-Based Exercise Education Program
curriculum. Participants in the combined exercise and exercise education group
received both components of the School-Based Exercise Education Program.
Finally, students in the no-treatment control group received their normal health
and physical education curriculums.

All participants were assessed at baseline and following
the conclusion of the intervention. Students were measured for height and
weight (also used to calculate BMI), skinfold thickness, blood pressure, and
aerobic power.

Results:Results indicated that participants in the
combined exercise and exercise education group experienced significantly less of
an increase in skinfold thickness by the end of the intervention relative to the
control group (medium effect size of 0.40) and control (small effect size of
0.08) participants. Furthermore, participants in the combined program
experienced significantly greater improvements in aerobic power relative to the
education only group (small effect size of 0.28).

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

McMurray, R.G., Harrell, J.S., Bangdiwala, S.I., Bradley,
C.B., Deng, S., & Levine, A. (2002). A school-based intervention can reduce
body fat and blood pressure in young adolescents. Journal of Adolescent
Health, 31,
125-132.

KEYWORDS: Children, Adolescents, Middle School,
Co-Ed, Multi-Racial, School-Based, Skills Training, Rural and/or Frontier,
Physical Activity, Weight; Black/African American

Program information last updated on 9/30/09.

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