Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Exercise Science

First Advisor

Michael W Beets

Abstract

Continuous monitoring of physical activity will assist in determining if afterschool programs are meeting policy related goals. However, there are few low-cost, easy to use devices available for afterschool programs. Pedometers are a reliable and valid means of measuring activity and recently step guidelines have been developed for afterschool programs. How afterschool programs are to utilize pedometers and institutionalize ongoing monitoring with them remains unclear. This pilot study documented the development and implementation of a pedometer tracking system within an afterschool program.

Methods: This study took place in a single afterschool program (3-6pm) serving approximately 70-100 children (5-13 yrs) daily throughout the academic year (August-May). The afterschool program had no written physical activity policies. The schedule offered homework time, a snack and beverage, and structured and free play activities. Data was objectively collected using Walk4Life pedometers. Staff were provided training on using the pedometers and recording the data. Staff interviews were performed one to two times weekly throughout the duration of the study and observations were performed daily.

Results: The themes that emerged were: staff training and development, implementation process, and staff motivation and beliefs. For staff training there was difficulty in using the pedometers and check-out. For implementation,the number of children wearing the pedometers at the initial implementation created a potential barrier for the successful implementation and can cause staff to feel overwhelmed. Additionally, staff appeared resistant to using the tracking system. Solutions to these issues included, providing staff with more training and booster sessions, use a phased approach (i.e 10-15 children) for implementation, and have staff provide feedback and hold the program director accountable when the tracking system is not used.

Conclusions: A tracking system can be beneficial to an afterschool program. However, despite the benefits there are still barriers to implementing a tracking system including: a lack of staffing, staff resistance, and using a single phased approach that may hinder the implementation process.

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