Feasibility and Efficacy of a Church-Based Intervention to Promote Physical Activity in Children

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

This study evaluated the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a church-based intervention to promote physical activity (PA) in children.

Methods:

The study was conducted in 4 churches located in 2 large metropolitan areas and 2 regional towns in Kansas. Churches in the intervention condition implemented the “Shining Like Stars” physical activity curriculum module during their regularly scheduled Sunday school classes. Churches in the control condition delivered the same content without integrating physical activity into the lessons. In addition to the curriculum, the intervention churches completed a series of weekly family devotional activities designed to promote parental support for PA and increase PA outside of Sunday school.

Results:

Children completing the Shining Like Stars curriculum exhibited significantly greater amounts of MVPA than those in the control condition (20 steps/min vs. 7 steps/min). No intervention effects were observed for PA levels outside of Sunday school or parental support for PA; however, relative to controls, children in the intervention churches did exhibit a significant reduction in screen time.

Conclusion:

The findings confirm that the integration of physical activity into Sunday school is feasible and a potentially effective strategy for promoting PA in young children.

Trost and Loprinzi are with the Dept of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. Tang is with the Dept of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.