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Addressing the Obesity Epidemic within the Physical Activity Classroom
AAHPERD National Convention 2009 (2009)
  • Bridget F. Melton, Georgia Southern University
  • Helen W. Bland, Georgia Southern University
The incidence of obesity in the United States has increased from 15% in 1976 to 34% in 2006 (Ogden, 2007). Although there has been numerous studies on overweight and obese individuals during adolescence and adulthood, there is a gap in the research among the college age population. Because the college years are a critical developmental period with positive or negative behaviors being easily influenced, (Hull, 2007), college campuses are an ideal place to integrate obesity prevention programs within academic courses and/or other programming. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of incorporating a weight management based curriculum into a college physical education class over a semester. METHODS: Participants were undergraduate students from a rural college in Southeastern United States. Participants registered for Fitness 4 Life [F4L] class during registration based upon the class description given in the course catalog. The control group was randomly selected from similar a type of physical activity classes, body conditioning. The F4L class had 16 participants and the control group had 70 participants. IRB approval and informed consent was obtained. Each participant attended class twice a week for 50 minute sessions. During class, students were given a 5-10 minute lecture-style review of the course content material. The intervention curriculum lasted 15 weeks, with pre- and post- fitness assessments the first and last week. Fitness Assessments obtained the following information: height, weight, blood pressure, resting heart rate, exercise heart rate (3 minute step test), body composition using skinfold (Jackson-Pollock), muscular endurance (pushup test), muscular strength (grip strength), and flexibility (modified sit-and-reach). ANALYSIS/RESULTS: Statistical tests included descriptive statistics (frequencies, means), dependent (paired samples) t-test to assess statistical significance between pre and post fitness assessment, and two-way ANOVA to test between-subjects effects. Alpha levels were set at 0.05, and reports used 95% confidence intervals. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that a weight management-based curriculum incorporated into a physical activity course provides improved results significantly between control and experimental groups for weight, BMI, Step heart rate, skinfold 1, 2, 3, skinfold average, and pushups (p< 0.05). Statistical significant differences were found among F4L pre and post results for: heart rate, skinfold 2, skinfold average, right grip, left grip, and the sit-and-reach. This study demonstrates that college curricula are a viable source in which the student can positively impact their weight management skills. Long term research is needed to see if fitness differences continue to exist between intervention and control group.
Publication Date
April 2, 2009
Citation Information
Bridget F. Melton and Helen W. Bland. "Addressing the Obesity Epidemic within the Physical Activity Classroom" AAHPERD National Convention 2009 (2009)
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