Date of Award
Masters of Science (Research)
Department of Sport, Leisure and Childhood Studies
Introduction: Paediatric obesity has become a global epidemic with many countries developing strategies to help tackle its prevalence. School based physical activity (PA) and nutrition interventions have proven to play a promising role in tackling childhood obesity.
Background: Project Spraoi is an Irish primary school based intervention. The intervention was delivered to an intervention school to help enhance PA and nutritional behaviour amongst pupils. The intervention school was assigned an 'Energizer'; a trained PA and nutrition change agent who worked with the school to achieve the objectives. For evaluation purposes a control school was recruited.
Methodology: Pupils from the intervention and control school (boys n = 85, 51.5%, girls n = 80, 48.5%) aged 6 and 10 at enrolment, had their anthropometric and physiological measurements taken, completed a nutritional knowledge survey and a cardiovascular fitness test, and wore an accelerometer at baseline and near intervention end. Data from intervention school stakeholders was also obtained.
Results: Pupils receiving the intervention had a statistically significant improvement in blood pressure (p = .000) compared to pupils who did not receive the intervention (p = .710). Twenty six weeks later pupils from the intervention school also performed better in the fitness test near intervention end (p = .000) compared to baseline.
No statistically significant improvements in pupils' BMI or waist circumference were found. PA increased and sedentary time decreased in the intervention school however these findings were not statistically significant. Improvements in pupils' nutritional knowledge and behaviour across certain topics were also found.
Conclusion: This approach may be associated with health benefits however the trajectory of this change needs to be measured over a longer time period.
Delaney, Lisa, "A Strategy to Improve Nutrition and Increase Physical Activity in Primary School Children." (2015). Theses [online].
Available at: https://sword.cit.ie/allthe/392