Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Sarah Dunphy-Lelii

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Approximately 42 million children under the age of 5 years are currently estimated to be overweight and at risk for obesity. Furthermore, Mississippi currently has the highest rates of obesity in the country and approximately 40% of Mississippi children are overweight or obese. With this in mind, the present paper offers a tailored school-based intervention program for Hinds County school district located in Mississippi. Three elementary schools will be randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a combined physical activity and nutrition education intervention, a nutrition education intervention, or an empty control condition. A total of approximately 558 children in grades 1-3 in all three conditions will be assessed on measures of BMI, blood pressure, self-esteem, and body image satisfaction. I predict that children assigned to the combined physical activity and nutrition education intervention will show the most significant improvements on within-subjects change in BMI, blood pressure, self-esteem, and body image satisfaction, sustained at an 8-month follow-up. The Mississippi Department of Education has already made tremendous strides in influencing public policy that advocates physical activity and healthy eating behaviors. However, this intervention aims to promote child agency by targeting children’s own attitudes and beliefs about healthy diet and exercise.

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