Get movin’ in the morning : effects on physical activity levels, parental support, and on-task behavior in elementary school children

by Senso, Meghan M.

Abstract (Summary)
As childhood obesity rises in the United States, so does the need for effective, sustainable physical activity interventions. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of an early morning care program as well as determine the program’s effects on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during the program and outside of school, parental support for physical activity, media-based screen time, and classroom on-task behavior. Two schools were recruited for participation; one received a six-week experimental early morning care program (ES) while the other continued their usual morning program (CS). Eleven students were recruited at the ES (mean age = 7.9 ± 2.0 yrs, 86% female, mean BMI = 62.7 ± 27.2) and six were recruited at the CS (mean age = 8.2 ± 1.5 yrs, 80% female, mean BMI = 67.8 ± 11.6). Physical activity was monitored objectively using Actigraph GT1M accelerometers before school in both groups and for 7 full days at baseline and at the end of the program. Parental support, media-based screen time, and on-task behavior were also measured at these time points. The results of the process evaluation demonstrated that an early morning care program is feasible with 90% of the planned sessions being implemented. By the fourth week of the program, though not significant, children in the ES group spent a greater percentage of time in MVPA on “program days” compared to “non-program days” (p > 0.05). No significant differences were seen in physical activity outside of school, parental support, or media-based screen time in either group (p > 0.05). The experimental early morning care program did not have deleterious effects on classroom-on task behavior. In conclusion, a simple, inexpensive intervention to increase physical activity seems to be a feasible during early morning care without negatively affecting on-task behavior. Although the results of the current study are promising, more research is needed to determine the effects of such a program on physical activity levels during early morning care. It is also apparent that different strategies are needed to influence parental support, media-based screen time, and physical activity levels outside of school. It may not be feasible to influence these behaviors during early morning care alone.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Trost, Stewart G.; Wilcox, Anthony; Gunter, Katherine; Pedersen, Elaine

School:Oregon State University

School Location:USA - Oregon

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:physical activity early morning care children exercise for health aspects fitness promotion


Date of Publication:04/17/2009

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.