Children’s Changes in Perceptions and Body Composition Following a Family-Based Fitness Intervention

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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  • 1 School of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA
  • | 2 Movement Sciences and Health, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL, USA
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Physical fitness is associated with decreased weight in children, which helps improve youth obesity rates. Family programs can provide practical approaches to improving physical fitness for children. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of a family-based fitness intervention on changes in body composition, fitness status, and perceptions of obese children. Families attended exercise and education sessions for 60–90 min once per week for 10 weeks. Participants consisted of 10 children who participated in semi-structured interviews, body composition, and fitness assessments at pre- and posttest. Following the intervention, results showed that children had a significant increase in sit-ups (p = .03, effect size = 0.79), lean mass (p < .001, Cohen’s d = 1.95), and bone mineral content (p < .001, Cohen’s d = 0.46). Using thematic analysis, four main themes emerged from the pre- and postintervention interviews: an increase in after-school and weekend intentional physical fitness, rules regarding sedentary behavior and screen time, more prevalent physical fitness reinforcements, and a shift in perception of exercise. Results from this study indicate a family-based intervention had an influence on children’s appreciation for and engagement in physical fitness, as well as healthy body composition and fitness outcomes.

Carroll (apv0004@auburn.edu) is corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0027-7766

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