208829 Promoting physical activity and personal development among elementary school girls in high-need neighborhoods

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:30 AM

Susan Brutschy, BA , Applied Survey Research, Watsonville, CA
In Santa Clara County, where the obesity rates are 33.4% among Latino children 9 to 11 years of age, one physical activity-based after-school program targeting 3rd 5th grade girls and their mothers has shown promise in local elementary schools in predominantly low-income, Latino neighborhoods. The program consists of volunteer women athletes from local universities and colleges leading eight weekly fitness sessions that attempt to change girls' beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors about physical activity, while also encouraging their development of personal characteristics such as self-confidence, cooperation, leadership and accountability. Data from a Fall 2007 evaluation showed that girls learned about team-work, respect and self-esteem, and mothers reported exercising more, eating healthier foods, and feeling more positive. Applied Survey Research is conducting a limited outcome evaluation for the girls' program in Spring 2009.The evaluation will use a pre-test/post-test/post-test design to measure changes in program participants' fitness-related behaviors and observable classroom-related behaviors based on the personal characteristics that the program is trying to promote. Prior to the program start, teachers and girls will complete surveys measuring girls' classroom-related behaviors. Girls will also provide information about their fitness-related behaviors. Immediately after the program ends, a second set of surveys will be completed. To determine whether observed changes are maintained for even a limited time beyond the program, a third set of surveys will be completed two weeks after the program ends. Data for the study will be available in May 2009.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe an athlete-driven, physical activity-based after-school program targeted at 3rd - 5th grade girls in elementary schools in high-need neighborhoods. 2. Describe an evaluation methodology that may be applied to other similar programs.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My firm, Applied Survey Research, is a nonprofit, community based social research organization and has conducted numerous community assessments and program evaluations for the past 27 years.
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.