CORE RESEARCH PROJECT: Promotion of Physical Activity in Children

FUNDING SOURCE: CDC 1993-1998

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Diane S. Ward, Ed.D.

CO-INVESTIGATORS: H.G. Williams, PhD and Russ Pate, PhD

Lack of regular physical activity has been linked to a number of chronic diseases common in the American people. Inactivity is high-- close to 50% of all adults. Children appear to be more active during their younger years, but markedly decrease participation in physical activity beginning with matriculation of formal schooling. Many experts feel that if physical activity is promoted during these formative years chances of long-term participation in physical activity are improved. National guidelines for promotion of physical activity in youth are currently being developed. The purpose of this project was to determine if the guidelines can be effectively implemented such that a measurable change in physical activity and fitness can be observed. An intact cohort of 30 randomly selected children from the test school were be followed from grade 1 to grade 5, and were assessed before and after the implementation of school and community physical activity promotion activities. Another group of 30 children randomly selected from a matched school served as controls. Physical activity was be measured using Caltrac motion counters, while physical and motor fitness was also tracked. Process measures of promotional materials were also included.