Promoting physical activity among overweight and obese children: a pilot study using a mastery motivational environment
Objective: This study examined an innovative method of promoting physical activity among overweight and obese children through creating a mastery motivational climate. Research methods and procedures: Thirteen overweight and obese children (mean age of 9.88 ± 1.26 years and BMI of 25.84 ± 4.02 kg/m2) were recruited to participate in SHARK (Skills Honing & Active Recreation for Kids), a 10-week program aimed at increasing physical activity by improving movement skills and perceived competence. The intervention was delivered by two trained instructors in an after-school community setting and also involved a weekly home challenges component. Baseline and week 10 assessments included height and weight, motor development, perceived competence, and physical activity (accelerometers). This presentation reports the findings for motor development and physical activity. Results: Paired-samples t-tests revealed significant improvements (all p values < .05) in locomotor t(11)=4.49; object control t(10)=8.41; and overall motor development t(10)=9.63. For physical activity variables, post-hoc effect size calculations revealed that the sample size did not provide adequate statistical power to protect beta. Discussion: This pilot study has shown that it is possible to improve overweight and obese children’s movement skills by creating a mastery climate. Further studies using larger samples are required to see if this improvement leads to increases in physical activity.