Response to FitnessGram Parent Reports in Georgia Public Schools: An Evaluation of Parent Interpretation and Intervention. Open Access

Prodgers, Anne Amalia (2015)

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Background: Childhood and adolescent obesity has been increasing steadily over the past 30 years, and today over one-third of children and adolescents are considered overweight or obese (CDC 2014). There are many school-based programs that aim to prevent or reverse childhood and adolescent obesity. Georgia schools have adopted FitnessGram, which assesses students' overall health-related physical fitness through tests that fall into five categories: aerobic capacity, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. Students are evaluated based on standards determined by FitnessGram, called the Healthy Fitness Zone standards, and the results are shared via student and parent reports.

Objectives: This research will identify general trends in parental perception of and response to the FitnessGram parent reports. This will then allow for recommendations to be made regarding the improvement of this aspect of the program, and provide a basis for further research and evaluation of this program in Georgia.

Methods: An electronic survey was sent to the parents of one elementary school in Georgia and data was collected via SurveyMonkey. Responses were analyzed for general trends in how parents were receiving the reports, their interest and investment levels in reading and understanding the reports, and how they chose to respond to and/or intervene in their child's health-related physical fitness based on the scores and information in the reports.

Results and Conclusion: Parents want their children to be healthy, but they do not necessarily use the FitnessGram parent reports as a tool or source of information to help their child achieve their health status. Parents demonstrate having good intentions to intervene if the Healthy Fitness Zone standards are not met, but may lack the time, knowledge, or willingness to change their own behaviors in order to follow through with these interventions. The results of this study led to several recommendations for schools using the FitnessGram parent reports, to potentially improve parent knowledge and ability to successfully help their child practice healthy diet and activity behaviors, and ultimately reduce childhood and adolescent obesity in Georgia.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction 1

Background 1

Childhood and Adolescent Obesity 1

Behavioral Risk Factors 2

Social Determinants 3

School-based Programs 3

Problem Statement 7

Purpose Statement 8

Research Questions 8

Significance 9

Theoretical Framework 9

Chapter 2: Review of Literature 13

Introduction 13

Review of Literature 13

Childhood and Adolescent Obesity 13

Parental Involvement in Child Physical Health 15

School-based Intervention Programs 17

Current Problem and Study Relevance 20

Chapter 3: Methodology 22

Introduction 22

Population and Sample 22

Population 22

Sample 23

Recruitment 24

Setting 24

Research Design 25

Procedures 25

Measures 25

Informed Consent 25

Instruments 26

Data Management and Analysis 26

Chapter 4: Results 28

Introduction 28

Findings 28

Reception 28

Interpretation 29

Intervention/Response 30

Other Comments 39

Summary 39

Chapter 5: Discussion 40

Summary of Study 40

Conclusion 41

Implications 44

Recommendations 47

Limitations and Delimitations 50

Limitations 50

Delimitations 51

References 53

Appendix 56

Letter to Parents 56

Informed Consent and Survey Items 57

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