150581 Development and evaluation of a physical activity component to an obesity prevention program for low-income preschoolers

Monday, November 5, 2007: 2:50 PM

Laura Bellows, PhD, MPH, RD , Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Jennifer Anderson, PhD, RD , Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Patricia Davies, PhD, OTR , Department of Occupational Therapy, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Catherine Kennedy, PhD , Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Obesity is receiving the attention that is warranted, yet a large void exists in addressing preschoolers. Good nutrition and physical activity are important to the growth and development of young children and to their establishment of healthful lifestyles. Food Friends is a nutrition program designed to increase food choice and dietary variety in preschoolers. Improving dietary behaviors is just one piece of the complex issue of childhood overweight with physical inactivity being the other major contributor. The addition of a comprehensive physical activity component, Mighty Moves, to Food Friends aims to enhance preschoolers' gross motor skills, increase their physical activity levels and encourage families to be more active. Food Friends Get Movin' with Mighty Moves is an 18 week physical activity program designed for Head Start teachers to increase movement opportunities in the classroom. Program materials, including a musical CD, polyspots, flashcards, and more, were designed using the Social Learning Theory and principles of Social Marketing. Eight Head Start centers 4 experimental and 4 control centers - are participating in a randomized controlled trial. Baseline data for physical fitness and gross motor skills (Peabody Developmental Motor Scales) has been collected with 268 children of mixed gender and race. Of the 268 children, 193 parents returned physical activity data, using pedometers and surveys, for themselves and their child. Pedometers have not been widely used with preschoolers. This study will provide normative and program data on behaviors of young children's physical activity, thus filling a void in the literature.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the need for community-based physical activity and nutrition interventions for preschoolers. 2. Discuss key steps involved in developing health promotion programs for low-income audiences. 3. Identify characteristics of preschoolers - ethnicity, age, gender - that contribute to physical activity levels.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Intervention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.