Institutions of higher education have a responsibility to prioritize the needs of society and local communities. One essential need prevalent in all communities is to address the rise of obesity and health risks due to lack of participation in physical activity. In the United States, children spend a small percentage of time engaged in physical activity, and engagement decreases further in adolescence and adulthood. Collaborative partnerships between kinesiology faculty at universities and community organizations are one avenue for engaging children in physical activity. Partnerships must be multilevel and community wide to evoke change and have long-term impact and sustainability. Within the context of community-based research, we propose a three-step framework for establishing collaborative partnerships: (1) determining the needs of partners; (2) discussing expertise, services, and philosophy; and (3) providing a quality product. In addition, we outline and illustrate our experiences when collaborating with community partners to promote physical activity.
Utilization of Collaborations to Engage Children in Physical Activity: A Community-Based Research Approach
Sheri J. Brock, Danielle Wadsworth, Shelby Foote, and Mary E. Rudisill
Children’s Changes in Perceptions and Body Composition Following a Family-Based Fitness Intervention
Alexandra V. Carroll, Shelby J. Foote, Christopher K. Wirth, Sheri J. Brock, and Danielle D. Wadsworth
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.