Program

Jun 11, 2009

OVERVIEW

This program is an exercise intervention designed to impact
blood pressure and increase physical fitness in children. The intervention
requires children to engage in physical exercise sessions beyond the number
normally required by their schools. In an evaluation of the program, 132
children with high and normal blood pressure levels were randomly assigned to
either receive the intervention or to a no-treatment control group. Results
indicated that, following the intervention, all children receiving the treatment
experienced significantly greater improvements in physical fitness and blood
pressure relative to control participants.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:9 to 11 year-old children.

This program is an eight-month long exercise intervention
designed to increase physical fitness and impact blood pressure in children.
The program is implemented by having children engage in extra exercise sessions,
beyond the number required by their schools’ physical education departments.
The exercise sessions do not differ in content from the regular physical
education classes, and involve warm ups, organized games, gymnastics, and other
activities. Children were required to participate in five, 50-minute sessions
per week.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Hansen, H.S., Froberg, K., Hyldebrandt, N., & Nielsen,
J.R. (1991). A controlled study of eight months of physical training and
reduction of blood pressure in children: The Odense schoolchild study. British Medical Journal, 303,682-685.

Evaluated population: 132 children living in
Odense, Denmark served as the sample for this evaluation. Roughly half of the
sample had blood pressure levels that fell in the top 5% for children their
age. The other half of the sample had blood pressure levels falling below the
top 5% for their age group.

Approach:Upon entrance into the study, children
were randomly assigned to receive the intervention or to a no-treatment control
group. Children in the no-treatment control group participated in their regular
physical education program, which consisted of two, 50-minute exercise sessions
per week. Exercise sessions typically included a 10-minute warm-up followed by
organized games or other physical activities.

Children in the study were assessed at baseline, three
months into the investigation, and at the conclusion of the intervention.
Children’s blood pressure levels were taken, and physical fitness was assessed
using measurements of maximum oxygen uptake during a bicycle riding task.

Results: Results indicated that, at the three-month
assessment point, there were no differences between study groups on levels of
physical fitness or blood pressure. However, at the end of the intervention,
children with both initially high and more normal blood pressure levels showed
significant increases in physical fitness relative to control participants.
Furthermore, children receiving the intervention experienced significantly
greater decreases in blood pressure than children in the control group. No
impacts were found on weight, triceps, skinfold thickness, weight-to-height
ratio, and heart rate.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Hansen, H.S., Froberg, K., Hyldebrandt, N., & Nielsen, J.R.
(1991). A controlled study of eight months of physical training and reduction
of blood pressure in children: The Odense schoolchild study. British
Medical Journal, 303,
682-685.

KEYWORDS: Children, Elementary, Co-ed,
School-based, Skills Training, Urban, Physical Activity, Weight

Program information last updated on 6/11/09.

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