Publications by authors named "Michelle L Whitfield"

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Examining the impact of a summer learning program on children's weight status and cardiorespiratory fitness: A natural experiment.

Eval Program Plann 2019 06 18;74:84-90. Epub 2019 Feb 18.

University of South Carolina, 921 Assembly St, Columbia, SC, 29208, United States.

This study examined the impact of an existing 7-week summer learning program on children's weight status and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF).

Methods: Using an observational repeated measures within-subjects design, children's (N = 20 mean age = 6.35; 45% female; 80% African American) height, weight, and CRF (i.e., Fitnessgram PACER), were measured during the first and final week of the seven week program. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all variables. Median regression analysis examined estimated the differences in BMI zscore, overweight and obesity prevalence, and CRF during the first week (baseline) compared to the final week (outcome).

Results: Of those enrolled initially in the program, 77% attended for more than 4 weeks. When controlling for attendance and sex, no statistically significant changes were observed for, median zBMI (pre: 0.12, post: 0.11) or CRF (pre: 10, post: 13.5 PACER laps). All children except for one maintained the same weight status (e.g. normal weight, overweight) from baseline to outcome. A total of 12 participants increased or maintained the number of PACER laps completed, while 8 participants' PACER laps decreased.

Conclusion: The results of this natural experiment provides preliminary evidence that participation in a structured summer program can potentially mitigate unhealthy weight gains and fitness loss over the summer for some children. Future studies with larger more representative samples are needed to establish the impact of structured summer programming on children's CRF and weight status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2019.02.009DOI Listing
June 2019