Year

2008

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education (Physical and Health Educaiton) (Honours)

Department

Faculty of Education

Abstract

The accelerating rate of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents is a growing public health concern in Australia. Numerous factors contribute to this rising trend, with physical activity, sedentary behaviours and dietary intake regarded as the main factors. To date, the majority of childhood obesity prevention intervention programs are multifaceted, employ a 'one size fits all' approach or are set within the formal school curriculum or in highly resourced settings. A setting which has yielded promising results, but is yet to be thoroughly evaluated, is an onschool site program set in the after-school time period.

The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability and potential efficacy of an after-school homework club and physical activity program (The Wollongong Sport Program) on promoting psychosocial wellbeing among 8- to 11- year old girls who were overweight, obese or were perceived by teachers to have low levels of perceived competence. Specifically, the study investigated recruitment, retention and attendance, the collection of data, implementation and enjoyment of sessions. The primary outcomes were perceived competence and quality of life, while the secondary outcomes were BMI, BMI z Score (overweight and obese participants only), waist circumference and percentage body fat.

The Wollongong Sport Program was a 14-week program that comprised three components: after-school homework club, healthy snacks and physical activities. The physical activity component provided participants with the opportunity to engage in a variety of game-based activities that were fun, challenging, individualised, promoted success, encouraged positive social interaction and the building of collaborative relationships between participants, facilitators and families.

The Wollongong Sport Program was found to be highly feasible, acceptable and potentially efficacious. Feasibility was shown by recruitment of the desired number of participants, retaining almost all participants from baseline to follow up and the successful collection of all outcome data at baseline and follow up. Acceptability was demonstrated by the implementation of all planned sessions (n=26), the high mean attendance (90%) and the high enjoyment ratings of each session (average 4.2 on a 5-point scale).

Potential efficacy was demonstrated by the improvement in perceived competence and quality of life and the reduction of BMI, BMI z Score (overweight and obese participants only), waist circumference and percent body fat. Dependent-sample !tests were used to analyse perceived competence, quality of life, BMI, BMI z Scores, waist circumference and percentage body fat. Two analyses were completed: the first for the entire sample and the second for participants who were overweight or obese. While the sample size for this study was not adequately powered to detect statistically significant differences, a number of results were statistically significant.

Perceived competence improved in all six domains for the entire sample with four domains demonstrating .statistical significance. Within the overweight and obese group an increase in five of the six perceived competence domains was observed.

For the entire sample the Child Reported Quality of Life results revealed statistically significant improvements in all dimensions. For the overweight and obese group small improvements in all four dimensions were revealed. Statistically significant results were shown in the Parent Report Quality of Life data for both the entire sample and those who were overweight or obese.

All anthropometric measures; BMI, BMI z Score (overweight and obese participants only), waist circumference and percentage body fat, revealed a decrease from baseline to follow up in both the entire sample and among those who were overweight and obese.

Overall, the Wollongong Sport Program was feasible, acceptable and potentially efficacious. We demonstrated it was possible to improve perceived competence, quality of life and reduce unhealthy weight gain using a stealth intervention which focused on the promotion of psychosocial wellbeing in 8- to 11-year-old girls who were overweight, obese or were perceived by teachers as having low levels of perceived competence. This study will provide information for the design and modelling of future after-school programs in the prevention of childhood overweight and obesity.

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