206718 Impact of Park and Afterschool Program on Childhood Fitness

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:00 AM

Mathilda B. Ruwe, MD, MPH, PhD , California State University, Fresno, Central Valley Health Policy Institute, Fresno, CA
John A. Capitman, PhD , California State University-Fresno, Central Valley Health Policy Institute, Fresno, CA
Genoveva Islas-Hooker, MPH , Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, Californai state University, Fresno, Fresno, CA
Purpose: Multiple environments influence childhood obesity. We assessed impact of selected school-level and neighborhood factors on meeting body composition fitness standard. Methods: We used 2006 fitness grams from 860 schools in six San Joaquin Valley counties. The dependent variable was percent children meeting body composition standard. Primary independent variables were having an afterschool program(ASP) (yes, no), a park within two miles of the school (yes, no), percent children meeting standards for aerobic capacity, abdominal strength, trunk extension strength, upper body strength and flexibility and percent receiving free/reduced price (F/RP) meals (as a poverty indicator).

Findings: Meeting standards for aerobic capacity, abdominal strength, upper body strength and flexibility was positively associated with meeting the body composition fitness standard. Surprisingly, on the average having a park within two miles of or ASP at a school were negatively associated with meeting body composition standard. Nonetheless a positive interaction between F/RP meals and ASP and between F/RP meals and park within two miles was observed. Schools with high proportion of children on F/RP meals who also had an ASP or a park within 2 miles radius had more children that met the body composition standard than those who did not have these facilities.

Conclusion: Having ASP at or a park within two miles of school seems particularly beneficial for children in low income households. The negative association of park or ASP with body composition exhibited in the main effects requires further evaluation of how programming components of after schools or parks influence children's fitness.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe how school and neighborhood factors influence childhood obesity and fitness. 2.Discuss ways for eliminating environmental barriers to childhood obesity prevention

Keywords: Obesity, Primary Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research scientist on obesity prevention
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.