Mixed-Methods Evaluation of a Healthy Exercise, Eating, and Lifestyle Program for Primary Schools

Thomas Cochrane, Rachel C. Davey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Reversing decline in physical fitness and increase in excess body weight in school children are considered major public health challenges. We evaluated a proposed model to integrate a screening and healthy exercise, eating, and lifestyle program (HEELP) into primary schools in Canberra, Australia. Objectives were: (1) to establish body status and physical competencies of 5- to 10-year-old children; (2) to evaluate the service's impact on body status and physical fitness; and (3) to gauge parent/guardian and school perspectives on the service. METHODS: A mixed-methods approach was used over 4 school years, 2010-2013. Primary evaluation used direct quantitative measurement. Confirmatory qualitative methods were implemented in the last 2 years. RESULTS: The service was delivered on 71 occasions involving 25 schools; 7750 children were screened and 709 completed all aspects of the HEELP evaluation. Over 60% of children screened had 2 or more measures that would benefit from remedial intervention. CONCLUSIONS: All body status and physical fitness measures showed small beneficial changes on a population basis immediately after the HEELP. Further benefit did not accrue at 6 months after the program. Semistructured interviews with schools and parent/guardian surveys confirmed some beneficial effects observed by direct quantitative measurement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-831
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of School Health
Volume87
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

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eating behavior
primary school
fitness
Exercise
Physical Fitness
evaluation
school
parents
body weight
schoolchild
qualitative method
public health
Program Evaluation
Healthy Diet
Healthy Lifestyle
Mixed Methods
Lifestyle
Evaluation
Physical
Primary School

Cite this

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abstract = "BACKGROUND: Reversing decline in physical fitness and increase in excess body weight in school children are considered major public health challenges. We evaluated a proposed model to integrate a screening and healthy exercise, eating, and lifestyle program (HEELP) into primary schools in Canberra, Australia. Objectives were: (1) to establish body status and physical competencies of 5- to 10-year-old children; (2) to evaluate the service's impact on body status and physical fitness; and (3) to gauge parent/guardian and school perspectives on the service. METHODS: A mixed-methods approach was used over 4 school years, 2010-2013. Primary evaluation used direct quantitative measurement. Confirmatory qualitative methods were implemented in the last 2 years. RESULTS: The service was delivered on 71 occasions involving 25 schools; 7750 children were screened and 709 completed all aspects of the HEELP evaluation. Over 60{\%} of children screened had 2 or more measures that would benefit from remedial intervention. CONCLUSIONS: All body status and physical fitness measures showed small beneficial changes on a population basis immediately after the HEELP. Further benefit did not accrue at 6 months after the program. Semistructured interviews with schools and parent/guardian surveys confirmed some beneficial effects observed by direct quantitative measurement.",
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Mixed-Methods Evaluation of a Healthy Exercise, Eating, and Lifestyle Program for Primary Schools. / Cochrane, Thomas; Davey, Rachel C.

In: Journal of School Health, Vol. 87, No. 11, 01.11.2017, p. 823-831.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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