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Res Q Exerc Sport. 2005 Jun;76(2):130-9.

The effects of a family fitness program on the physical activity and nutrition behaviors of third-grade children.

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Department of Health and Physical Education, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 95521, USA.


This study examined the efficacy of a school-based exercise and nutrition program with a parent component. Third-grade children (N = 238) from six elementary schools participated in the study, with three schools randomly assigned to a program group and the other three schools to a control group. The program group received a health-related fitness school-based program and a home program that required parents and children to complete activities and earn points for nutrition and exercise activities. The control group received their traditional physical education and nutrition education program. Univariate analysis of variance on pre- and posttest scores were completed on the following variables: height, weight, body mass index, skinfold, blood cholesterol, mile run, exercise and nutrition knowledge, calories, protein, carbohydrates, total fat, saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, fiber, sodium, percentage of calories from carbohydrates, and percentage of calories from fat. At pretest, the treatment and control groups did not significantly differ on the measures using schools as the unit of analysis. Girls scored significantly higher than boys on skinfold and pretest knowledge. At posttest, the treatment group scored significantly higher than the control group on exercise and nutrition knowledge and significantly lower than the control group on total fat intake, using schools as the unit of analysis. There was no improvement in physiological measures, including blood cholesterol. The study demonstrated that schools can adjust curriculum to meet some health needs of students and achieve modest changes in exercise and nutrition knowledge and diet. The family component of the program provided a practical approach to improving physical activity and nutrition behaviors for elementary school teachers who teach many participants in a crowded curriculum.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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