After-school programs can increase physical activity of adolescent girls

Mar 13, 2008

Afterschool programs can modestly increase the amount of physical activity among girls in middle school, according to new results from the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG), a multiple site, community based study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.

Results are published in the article, "Promoting Physical Activity in Middle School Girls," in the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study found that programs which linked schools in 6 geographic regions of the U.S. with community partners (such as the YMCA or YWCA, local health clubs, and community recreation centers) increased time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity among the middle-school female students by about 2 minutes per day, or 80 calories a week.

This finding occurred after three years of the intervention but not after two years. Physical activity was measured using accelerometers (a device for measuring the acceleration of motion), rather than self-reported. The authors write that results suggest this improved level of activity could prevent excess weight gain of about 2 pounds per year (or 0.82 kg per year), which, if sustained, could prevent a girl from becoming overweight as a teenager or adult.

In addition, TAAG showed a reduction of 8.2 minutes of sedentary behavior in girls in the intervention schools. Furthermore, the best results were seen in programs offered between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, which suggest that afterschool programs are more effective than programs offered at other times, such as morning weekdays and weekends. The study results support the need for schools and community programs to work together to provide opportunities for physical activity programs in afterschool settings.

Researchers have found that as youth, especially girls, become adolescents, their level of physical activity decreases, putting them at risk for becoming overweight.

Source: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Explore further: Counselling has limited benefit on young people drinking alcohol

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tattoo biobatteries produce power from sweat

Aug 13, 2014

In the future, working up a sweat by exercising may not only be good for your health, but it could also power your small electronic devices. Researchers will report today that they have designed a sensor ...

Monitoring meteor showers from space

Aug 13, 2014

Those who enjoy the spectacle of the Perseids, Geminids or other annual meteor showers likely aren't thinking about where these shooting stars originated or whether they might pose a danger. Scientists, however, ...

Bioengineers create functional 3-D brain-like tissue

Aug 11, 2014

Bioengineers have created three-dimensional brain-like tissue that functions like and has structural features similar to tissue in the rat brain and that can be kept alive in the lab for more than two months.

Learning from origami to design new materials

Aug 07, 2014

A challenge increasingly important to physicists and materials scientists in recent years has been how to design controllable new materials that exhibit desired physical properties rather than relying on ...

Butterflies could hold key to probes that repair genes

Aug 05, 2014

New discoveries about how butterflies feed could help engineers develop tiny probes that siphon liquid out of single cells for a wide range of medical tests and treatments, according to Clemson University researchers.

Recommended for you

Pica in pregnant teens linked to low iron

5 hours ago

In a study of 158 pregnant teenagers in Rochester, NY, nearly half engaged in pica – the craving and intentional consumption of ice, cornstarch, vacuum dust, baby powder and soap, and other nonfood items, reports a new ...

User comments : 0