159834 Engaging adolescents and teachers in community-based research to increase physical activity opportunities

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

James A. Rye, PhD, RD , Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Jacqueline Aleshire, MA , Scott High School, Madison, WV
Darlene McClure, MA , Scott High School, Madison, WV
Nancy O'Hara Tompkins, PhD , Prevention Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
West Virginia is one of the most rural states in the nation and has a high prevalence of adult obesity. An environment lacking opportunities for physical activity may be a contributing factor. Schools can be an important community resource in combating the obesity epidemic. Through a University-community partnership during two consecutive years, teachers and adolescents in a West Virginia county developed and implemented a school-based research project to increase physical activity opportunities. A survey administered to project participants (n = 16 and 15)—mostly school district employees—revealed during each year that lack of willpower and energy were the greatest barriers and had the greatest pre to post mean score reductions. Year two data revealed that participants increased significantly (p = .0009) their mean daily step count (6600 to 9132) and decreased significantly their barrier total score (p = .0009) as well as the barrier subscores for lack of energy (p = .0007), time (p = .0024), and willpower (p = .0033). Focus groups with the adolescent researchers suggested that pedometers encouraged competitiveness and may facilitate maintenance of physical activity as well as community impact on a broader scale. Focus group dialogue along with the perspectives of the teacher-researchers suggested that the adolescents changed their views about weight control to include the critical role of energy expenditure. School wellness programs as well as partnerships to promote community health should not overlook adolescents and teachers as important human resources for increasing physical activity and preventing obesity.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how adolescents and school teachers can be engaged in community-based health research. 2. Identify data collection tools and procedures conducive to youth involvement in research. 3. Explain the implications of the adolescent-researcher perspectives for future endeavors to engage youth in community-based health research and promotion. 4. Discuss the potential of teachers and adolescents as human resources for school wellness programs.

Keywords: Adolescents, Community-Based Health Promotion

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.