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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Louisiana Part of Team that Researched Childhood Obesity and Daycare Activity

Briefings in Childhood Obesity, a comprehensive news source delivered biweekly from the editorial team of Childhood Obesity, published findings in its August 28 edition from a study designed to objectively determine whether the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) program improved physical activity levels during the school day. Faculty from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) School of Public Health in New Orleans, the School of Applied Sciences, University of Mississippi (UM), Oxford, MS, and the Schools of Public Health and Medicine, University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, NC, authored the paper “Improving Physical Activity in Daycare Interventions”.

Twenty-six daycare centers were randomized into 13 intervention and 13 control centers, involving 104 males and 105 females. The NAP SACC consultant team delivered staff workshops on weight, nutrition, physical activity, and growing healthy children to the 13 intervention centers. Then, the NAP SACC self-assessment tool was administered by facility directors, examining 14 areas of physical activity and nutrition. Based on the responses, facility directors chose areas for improvement and developed facility-specific improvement plans, in consultation with the NAP SACC consultants.

The LSUHSC team compared activity levels in intervention and control groups, measuring these levels with accelerometers two days prior to and two days after a six month intervention. Height, mass, and waist were also measured.  The researchers found a total physical activity increase in the treatment groups of 21.9 percent, compared with to a 4.4 percent increase in the control groups. The researchers concluded that implementation of the NAP SACC program in treatment daycare facilities resulted in significant increases in objectively measured physical activity levels, compared to the control group, demonstrating physical activity improvement in the treatment daycare centers.

Lead author Dr. Marc Bonis, adjunct assistant professor of behavior and community health sciences (BCHS) at LSUHSC, teamed with Dr. Melinda Sothern, BCHS professor, Dr. Tung Sung Tseng, BCHS associate professor and Ms. Ann Clesi, nutritional expert at LSUHSC. The paper was co-authored with Dr. Mark Loftin, professor and associate dean of applied sciences, and Dr. Dianne Ward, professor and director of the intervention and policy division, nutrition department of Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC, and the LSUHSC team mentioned.