228972 We Run This City marathon program: A school-community fitness program for underserved youth

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 5:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Elaine A. Borawski, PhD , Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Tara Taylor , YMCA of Greater Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
Ryan Kofron, MSSA , Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Laura Danosky, MPH , Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Pamela Brackett, MNO , Office of Health Promotion, Cleveland Department of Public Health, Cleveland, OH
Meghan Estes , Office of Health Promotion & Prevention, Cleveland Department of Public Health, Cleveland, OH
Deborah Aloshen, MEd, RN , Health Services/Nursing, Cleveland Municipal School District, Cleveland, OH
We Run This City Marathon Program is an innovative community/school fitness program conducted by a multi-organization collaborative that engages inner-city youth to run/walk part of the Cleveland Rite-Aid Marathon, using two different training options: (a) accumulating 25 miles over 12 weeks, completing the last 1.2 miles on race day, or (b) training to participate in the 10k (6.2 miles). Students were assessed pre-training and post-race, including physical measurements (BMI,BP,waist-to-hip, fitness) and self-reported attitudes and behaviors via handheld computers. Analyses were conducted on total sample,by race option and weight status.

In 2009, 525 students formed 24 school-based teams. Of these, 361 (69%) completed both pre-and post-race assessments (mean age=12.9; 51% male, 75% African-American, 11% Hispanic, 4% Other Minority, 9% White). 26% of participants were overweight and 21% had elevated blood pressures at baseline. Post-race results revealed significant impact on physical, behavioral, cognitive outcomes, including decreases in elevated blood pressure (all groups; p<.001), waist-to-hip ratio (10k only; p<.001), increases in physical endurance (p<.001), and stable weight. Self-reported improvements were noted in perceived physical competence (10k, overweight only; p<.001), reduced exposure to at-risk peers (p<.001), reduced trouble in school (p<.001); increased family fitness support fitness (p<.01) and increased choice of active vs. sedentary activities (1.2 only;p<.05). No changes were observed in efficacy, grades, absenteeism, or future intentions. These results provide evidence that daily physical activity is crucial in the fight against obesity and consequences of sedentary lifestyles. Discussion will include recruitment and assessment strategies, in-school training challenges, and current improvements in the program.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the methods for developing a community-school fitness program aimed at sedentary and overweight youth. 2. Describe the impact of the fitness program on student's psychological, perceptual and physical (blood pressure, bmi) measurements. 3. Discuss the role and value of community-school programs in increasing regular physical activity among disadvantaged and underserved youth.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have served as the primary evaluator and academic partner for the WRTC Program for the past three 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.