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Abstract

Childhood overweight and obesity is a serious national health problem that can lead to overweight and obesity in adulthood. Many programs have been developed to “treat” children already classified as overweight or obese. However, they represent reactionary strategies to a preventable problem. This paper describes the development of a school-based program to promote physical activity and healthy lifestyle to all students regardless of weight. Results from the initial pilot are presented, and barriers and methods to overcome these barriers are discussed. Methods: Move your Feet! is an elementary-school-based after-school club that promotes physical activity and healthy lifestyle. Attendance was recorded, BMI determined, and responses obtained on pre- and post-club questionnaires. Results: Overall child attendance rate was 91%. The average number of days/week children and parents participated in physical activity significantly increased. Over 80% of parents were “satisfied” with the way the club affected their child, themselves, and their family. Over 95% of the children enjoyed the club. There was no change in BMI. Conclusion: After-school wellness programs show promise for promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyle changes, and as a result, may have the potential to help decrease overweight and obesity in children.

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