Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, College of Education, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.
Introduction: In the U.S., afterschool programs are asked to promote moderate to vigorous physical activity. One policy that has considerable public health importance is California's afterschool physical activity guidelines that indicate all children attending an afterschool program accumulate 30 minutes each day the program is operating. Few effective strategies exist for afterschool programs to meet this policy goal. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a multistep adaptive intervention designed to assist afterschool programs in meeting the 30-minute/day moderate to vigorous physical activity policy goal.
Design: A 1-year group randomized controlled trial with baseline (spring 2013) and post-assessment (spring 2014). Data were analyzed 2014.
Setting/participants: Twenty afterschool programs, serving >1,700 children (aged 6-12 years), randomized to either an intervention (n=10) or control (n=10) group.
Intervention: The employed framework, Strategies To Enhance Practice, focused on intentional programming of physical activity opportunities in each afterschool program's daily schedule and included professional development training to establish core physical activity competencies of staff and afterschool program leaders with ongoing technical assistance.
Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome was accelerometry-derived proportion of children meeting the 30-minute/day moderate to vigorous physical activity policy.
Results: Children attending intervention afterschool programs had an OR of 2.37 (95% CI=1.58, 3.54) to achieve the physical activity policy at post-assessment compared to control afterschool programs. Sex-specific models indicated that the percentage of intervention girls and boys achieving the physical activity policy increased from 16.7% to 21.4% (OR=2.85, 95% CI=1.43, 5.68) and 34.2% to 41.6% (OR=2.26, 95% CI=1.35, 3.80), respectively. At post-assessment, six intervention afterschool programs increased the proportion of boys achieving the physical activity policy to ≥45% compared to one control afterschool program, whereas three intervention afterschool programs increased the proportion of girls achieving physical activity policy to ≥30% compared to no control afterschool programs.
Conclusions: The Strategies To Enhance Practice intervention can make meaningful changes in the proportion of children meeting the moderate to vigorous physical activity policy within one school year. Additional efforts are required to enhance the impact of the intervention.
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