ymca start for life

START FOR LIFE

RESEARCH + REPORTED RESULTS

The outcomes of Start for Life were researched and reported in four scientific journals. Select a journal below to see key points from each study.

International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

Key points of the study:

1 Preschools have typically lacked sufficient time in and intensity of daily physical activity.

2 Data from accelerometer measuring physical activity and body mass index (BMI is a value derived from the weight and height of an individual) were used.

3 Start For Life treatment was associated with a significantly greater percentage for the preschool day in moderate-to-vigorous and vigorous activity. Sedentary time was unaffected. A significant reduction in BMI was seen between control and treatment groups.

4 The practical application of Start For Life suggests possibilities for addressing overweight through increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during the dedicated time. The reduction in sedentary time may require a different strategy.

Annesi, J.J., Smith, A.E., & Tennant, G.A. (2013). Effects of a cognitive-behaviorally based physical activity treatment for 4- and 5-year-old children attending U.S. preschools. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 20, 562-566.


Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

Key points of the study:

1 Overweight and obesity among preschool age children is growing in industrialized nations. A lack of physical activity is associated with excess weight in children and may be an even stronger predictor of overweight than poor eating.

2 This study adds a highly structured and testable physical activity treatment with a foundation in social cognitive and self-efficacy (“I think I can”) theory. Structured physical activity with self-management and self-regulatory skills interspersed may hold great promise to the issue noted above.

3 Results were reported as the control group as compared to the treatment group. A significant change in moderate-to-vigorous and vigorous physical activity by indicating a greater change in the treatment group over 8 weeks. Time in sedentary activities was not affected.

4 Kaiser Permanente Foundation provided funding support for this project.

Annesi, J.J., Smith, A.E., & Tennant, G. (2013). Cognitive-behavioral physical activity treatment in African-American preschoolers: Effects of age, sex, and BMI. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 49(2), E128-E132.


Psychology, Health, and Medicine

Key points of the study:

1 In US children of ages 2-5 years, combined overweight and obesity has increased to 21%, with African American children of this age range highest at 26%. A lack of physical activity is associated with excess weight and may be the strongest predictor of overweight in children.

2 Study aim was to address a gap in the related research by incorporating health behavior change principles, learning from previous formats and results and testing a physical activity protocol appropriate for widespread use in preschool settings.

3 Measures used were body mass index (BMI is a value derived from the weight and height of an individual) and physical activity intensity.

4 Results of BMI between treatment and control groups on age, sex, ethnic/racial make-up were not significant. There was an increase of approximately 9.3% in vigorous and 8.7% in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity between treatment and control groups over eight weeks. Other considerations that could be researched are parental/family involvement, activity outside the school day and long-term effects.

Annesi, J.J., Smith, A.E., & Tennant, G. (2013). Effects of the Start For Life treatment on physical activity in primarily African American preschool children of ages 3-5 years. Psychology, Health, and Medicine, 18, 300-309.


Southern Medical Journal

Key points of the study:

1 Overweight and obesity in children are increasing concerns for medical professionals. Lack of sufficient physical activity may be the primary case.

2 Results were a significant increase in moderate-to-vigorous and vigorous physical activity.

3 Reductions in body mass index (BMI is a value derived from the weight and height of an individual) were significant, with greater improvements in BMI of preschoolers of an initially higher weight compared to those of a healthy weight.

4 Unlike children of an average BMI, the expected trajectory for overweight and obese children is upward.

Annesi, J.J., Smith, A.E., & Tennant, G.A. (2013). Reducing high BMI in African American preschoolers: Effects of a behaviorally based physical activity treatment on caloric expenditure. Southern Medical Journal, 106, 456-459.