Research Study Abstract

Appalachian Children Increase Moderate-to-vigorous Physical Activity Through An Empirically-based Afterschool Physical Activity Intervention

  • Presented on May 28, 2014

Background: The development of childhood obesity has been linked to chronic energy surplus due to poor dietary habits and inadequate physical activity (PA). Researchers have suggested that a sustained increase in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) can help reduce the prevalence of obesity by correcting for the energy surplus. Changes in US school policies (i.e., more time devoted to academics) have resulted in reduced PA opportunities during the school day. Due to time limitations during school day, researchers have suggested utilizing the afterschool hours as means of improving PA levels in children.

Purpose: To assess the effects of a structured, afterschool PA intervention with a known energy expenditure (EE) on PA, body composition (BC), and blood pressure (BP) in Appalachian children.

Methods: 2nd-4th grade children from an Athens County, Ohio afterschool program were recruited to participate in this study. Children were randomized into either an active group (ACT, n=6) that participated in structured recess-games with a known EE of ≥100 kcals/30 min or sedentary group (SED, n=7) that participated in sedentary, arts/crafts activities. Both interventions were implemented for ~27 min/day for 16-days over 7-weeks (~2.3 days/week). BC and BP were measured at baseline and at the conclusion of the intervention. Daily intervention PA was assessed with accelerometers during the course of the program. Changes in baseline to follow-up for BC and BP were compared between ACT and SED using ANCOVA (adjusted for baseline values). Independent t-test compared group differences in average intervention PA intensity and time spent in MVPA.

Results: Thirteen subjects (age: 8.2±1.3 yrs; BMI: 18.9±3.5 m/kg2) completed baseline measures with no signifi cant differences between ACT and SED. Between group differences were observed for average intervention PA METs (ACT=5.29±0.80; SED=2.36±0.24, (p<0.001)), accelerometer counts/min (ACT=2645.33±615.60; SED=293.85±171.35, (p<0.001)), and MVPA minutes (ACT=16.28±5.43; SED=2.56±1.82, (p<0.001)). No other significant differences were observed.

Conclusion: PA intensity for ACT met established guidelines; however, total PA volume during intervention was not sufficient to improve BC or BP. Future studies using this structured PA format should increase frequency and duration of PA.

Presented at

ACSM 2014 Annual Meeting


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