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Go! Program Promotes Physical Activity Among School-age Children

NWCPHP completed its evaluation of the Go! program and found that the program encourages physical activity among students.

NWCPHP completed its evaluation of the Go!  program and found that the program encourages physical activity among students.

September 20, 2017

As school-age children find themselves increasingly surrounded by distractions that keep them sedentary, many parents and educators find it challenging to motivate kids to be physically active. Physical activity among students tends to decrease between the fourth and fifth grades, previous research shows.

NWCPHP recently completed its evaluation of the Go! program, a physical activity initiative campaign, and found that participation in the program encouraged students to move more.

The Go! program, formerly known as the Gear Up and Go! (GUGO) initiative, was a four-year program developed by the Snohomish County Health Leadership Coalition (SCHLC) to increase the levels of physical activity among fifth graders in the county. The students wore Sqord wristbands, a type of accelerometer, to measure and record their physical activity and provide a visual reminder for them to move.

NWCPHP evaluated the program in 2014, with the three-year evaluation funded as part of a grant from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH). The program aligns with OASH’s priority to “increase the number of community based organizations providing population-based primary prevention services in physical activity.” The fourth (and final) year of the program was implemented by Sqord, and the program was renamed Go!

A total of 27 Snohomish County schools joined the program, with between 1,500 and 2,000 students participating each school year. Among the findings:

  • Students who participated in Go! were significantly more active than those who did not participate.
  • Hourly and daily activity levels increased throughout the school year among active participants.
  • Higher rates of physical activity among fifth graders who participated in Go! were consistent from 2014 to 2016, compared with fifth graders who did not participate in Go!
  • Engagement among those participating remained constant over the course of the year.
  • Program satisfaction among teachers was high in the last three years of implementation.

“What I love about the Go! program is that it encouraged kids to incorporate physical activity into their everyday lives. Promoting physical activity in youth encourages lifelong habits that promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease,” said Megan Rogers, MS, NWCPHP Evaluation Specialist. “We are hopeful that the results of our evaluation will inform ways to help keep kids engaged in physical activity beyond fifth grade, which is when we see a large decline in physical activity among youth.”

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