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Afterschool Soccer Fitness and Nutrition Program in Four Cities Improves BMI Percentile, Waist Circumference, and Fitness Levels in Participants Compared to Nonparticipants

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Danielle Hollar, PhD, MHA, MS, Healthy Networks Design & Research, Shepherdstown, WV
Zach Riggle, US Soccer Foundation, Washington, DC
Weidan Zhou, MS, Elite Research, LLC, Carrollton, TX
While childhood obesity has begun to plateau, some subgroups continue to experience increases - particularly low-income minority children. Hypothesis: More children in the intervention would improve their 1) body mass index (BMI) percentile; 2) waist circumference (WC); and 3) fitness (PACER laps). Soccer for Success (SfS) (90 minutes per day, 3 days a week, 24 weeks), aims to combat childhood obesity and foster youth development in economically disadvantaged communities. Employing a quasi-experimental design, data were collected early Fall 2013 and late Spring 2014 in 12 randomly-assigned intervention and 12 control sites in Buffalo, NY (4 intervention [I], 4 control [C]); Detroit, MI (4 I, 4 C); Los Angeles, CA (1 I, 1 C); and Seattle, WA (3 I, 3 C). The sample included 999 diverse low-income children grades K-5 (564 I/435 C; black=44.5%; Hispanic=44.3%; 7% other; 4.2% white; 54.9% males). There was no difference between groups at baseline. More children in the intervention improved BMI percentile, WC, and laps. The mean BMI percentile among intervention children decreased by 2.7 more than control children (Repeated measures ANOVA, p=.002). Mean WC among intervention children decreased (0.25 in), whereas the WC of controls increased (0.32 in); Repeated measures ANOVA, p=.001. PACER Laps completed by SfS children increased dramatically (3.4 laps); laps of control decreased (0.3 laps; Repeated measures ANOVA, p < .001). In conclusion, the success of SfS calls for expansion of efficacious, coordinated afterschool efforts that include physical activity/exercise, nutrition education, and healthy snacks to combat childhood obesity.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
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
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe an efficacious, nationwide afterschool program that integrates fun physical activity with nutrition and healthy living education. Evaluate the impact of afterschool fitness and nutrition programming on anthropometric (body mass index percentile and waist circumference) and fitness (number of completed PACER laps) outcomes, using an experimental design. Discuss the health improvements among intervention participants after a one-year fitness and nutrition education afterschool intervention, and the replicability of this efficacious programming. Discuss the replicability and scalability of an efficacious fitness and nutrition education afterschool program.

Keyword(s): Evaluation, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: NA

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was a co-author regarding this study. I have overseen multiple federally-funded grants focusing on the health changes of children living in under-resourced communities.
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.