Faculty Publications


The effects of a 4-week after-school program on motor skills and fitness of kindergarten and first-grade students

Document Type



Childhood obesity, Children, Motor proficiency, Motor skills, Physical activity

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American Journal of Health Promotion





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Purpose: To examine the effects of an after-school NutriActive program on anthropometric measurements, motor skills, and fitness levels of young children. Design: In this quasi-experimental study, anthropometric, motor skill, and fitness measurements were compared between intervention and control students at baseline, following a 4-week intervention, and after a summer break (4 months). Setting: Two intervention and two control microurban elementary schools. Subjects: Forty-two intervention and 28 control kindergarten and first-grade students (50% boys, 82% Caucasian). Intervention: A 4-week program consisted daily of a morning walk and an after-school physical activity lesson with an emphasis on motor skill development, nutrition/health lesson, snack, and nonstructured active play. Measures: Body mass index, waist circumference, and fitness and motor skill levels. Analysis: Repeated-measures analysis of variance, t-test, and stepwise regression. Results: The intervention group scored significantly better on some fitness and all motor skill tests at 4 weeks. The improvements in fitness and skill levels ranged from 30% to 270%. At 4 months, differences between the groups diminished but remained significant, with better scores for the intervention group on some tests. Skill levels emerged as predictors of cardiovascular fitness at 4 months. Anthropometric measurements did not differ between the groups at any time point. Conclusion: A short, intense after-school program can produce significant, sustainable improvements in motor skill and fitness levels of young children. Copyright © 2010 by American Journal of Health Promotion, Inc.

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DOI of published version