Feb. 9, 2012Vol. 42, Issue 4

Grant Addresses Childhood Activity

‘Get Moving’ Offers a New Kind of PE

“During this financially difficult time in education, this grant provides an opportunity for physical education training for our teachers and to enhance the curriculum,” says Carol Brown, principal of Golden Hills Elementary School. "Teachers will learn fun games and activities to do with their students, which will, in turn, promote fitness, health, and performance."

The new project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, is called "Get Moving South County" and allows CNAP to enhance its efforts to improve physical education (PE) programs and reduce rates of overweight students in Oroville and Palermo school districts. As part of the program, each of the seven participating schools will receive $10,000 in PE equipment, classroom curriculum, and PE training for teachers. Get Moving South County will contract with Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK) to provide professional development for teachers. SPARK is a research-based public health organization that provides training in inclusive, active, and fun PE classes.

CSU, Chico students from the Adapted Physical Activity Program will be recruited and trained as SPARK play coaches by Marci Pope, Kinesiology. They will work and play with elementary students during recess and lunch breaks and promote school-wide physical activity programs. They are critical to the program’s goal of modeling activities for teachers.

Students will also act as research assistants and have begun that portion of the project. Alex Waite, a CNAP research assistant, says, “The most exciting aspect of this grant is the wealth of data we are collecting to determine the impact of the program on individual students and the school as a whole.” Waite will be graduating this spring with a master’s degree in nutritional science with an option in nutrition education.

Photos: (homepage) CSU, Chico students, Kimberly Moore and Kellie Ashton, prepare to collect baseline data that will be used to evaluate the success of “Get Moving.” (below)CNAP staff and CSU, Chico students are working together to start the “Get Moving” program at Golden Hills Elementary School in Palermo. From Left to right, Michele Buran, Amy Gonzales, Kayla Holt, Kimberly Moore, Jenni Dye, Kellie Ashton. Buran, Gonzales and Dye are CNAP staff. Get Moving builds on existing successful CNAP programs like Harvest of the Month. Under the guidance of Amy Gonzales and Jenni Dye, both CSU, Chico graduates and master’s-prepared registered dietitians, nutrition students currently teach children and families about the importance of eating healthy via “guest chef” classroom visits and Eat Right When Money is Tight parent classes. Community members are invited to support school efforts by participating in a Get Moving South County coalition. The coalition will adopt the National Let’s Move! Initiative, a comprehensive national initiative aimed at reducing childhood obesity by teaching kids to eat healthy and be physically active.

Michele Buran, project director, is excited to literally create a movement on these campuses. “With new PE equipment, district-wide training, community collaboration, and support from CSU, Chico students, elementary school students will have many more opportunities for physical activity throughout the day,” says Buran.

Elisa Huru, a teacher from Oakdale Heights, adds, “This is so very exciting! The kids are going to love it, there will be fewer playground problems, we will perform better in class, and we will be healthier.”

CNAP has extensive experience in conducting research examining the impact of a variety of nutrition education, physical activity promotion, and child obesity programs. In recognition of outstanding work to improve nutrition and physical activity for low-income children and adolescents, the Network for a Healthy California recognized CNAP and the CSU, Chico Research Foundation as the recipients of the 2009 Nonnie Korten Champion for Children Award.

—Gina Sims, MA, Health Education Specialist, Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion