Physical activity is an integral part of the war on pediatric obesity. Pediatric obesity is a worldwide epidemic affecting children of all races, classes, and gender. According to the Ohio Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 2013 over one third of Ohio children in grades nine through twelve were considered overweight or obese and engage in more than three hours of screen time, television, computers or video games daily.
The purpose of this project was to introduce an evidence-based physical activity program (Let's Move Active Schools)led by physical activity leaders (PALs) to improved BMI, increase GPA, and increase physical activity (PACE score) for disadvantage high school students in health class.
Strength of Evidence
An appraisal form from Larrabee was utilized to assess strength and quality of evidences. Level of evidences for selected articles ranged from 1a to 2a and quality of evidences was rated from acceptable to high. A synthesis of evidence supports the benefits of increased physical activity including better BMI and improved academic performance.
Let’s Move Active Schools streamlines the selection of programs including PAL learning system and delivers a customized action plan. The 7 hour PAL trainings are skill building leadership workshops and support individuals who will champion an effort in their local schools/school district to ensure 60 minutes a day of physical activity for all school-aged youth through Let's Move Active Schools. The proposed change was presented to the targeted school Wellness Committee including the superintendent, the high school principal, the school nurse, and the physical activity coordinator.
The Larrabee’s Model for Evidence Based Practice Change was used to guide the implementation of this project. The intervention was delivered to an inner city high school in West Central Ohio. Two health teachers and the project coordinator were enrolled and trained in Let’s Move Active Schools curriculum and served as PALs. The PALs designed physical activities and introduced physical actives in the classroom in the form of physical activity breaks for ten minutes.
The outcome indicators, BMI, PACE score, and GPA were measured at before and after Let’s Move Active Schools program. Data was coded and analyzed using the SPSS. Paired T tests were used to compare the outcome measures before and after the proposed practice change within the participant group.
Thirty eight freshman in health class completed program. Results showed that there were significant differences in GPA and PACE; however, there was no significant difference in body weight status due to short time frame of project. Project results were disseminated to school Wellness Committee and school administration with anticipation of inclusion of physical activity breaks for every classroom for the future.
The Larrabee’s model for change to evidenced based practice successfully provided a step-wise approach for planning, implementing, and evaluating this evidence based project. Small changes in the form of teacher and staff education, becoming PALs, can result in major impact in the war on pediatric obesity and a lifetime of wellness.
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