Connect & Explore SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework Q&A

As part of the popular Connect & Explore webinar series, NCCOR hosted a two-part feature on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework. On August 18, the webinar titled “SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework: Measuring Success in Low-Income Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Programs” explored how to use the framework to evaluate nutrition education and obesity prevention programs. Guest speakers included: Andrew Naja-Riese, MSPH, Chief, Program Integrity Branch, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Food and Nutrition Service, Western Regional Office, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Laurel Jacobs, DrPH, MPH, Lead Evaluator, Arizona SNAP-Ed, The University of Arizona; and Theresa Le Gros, MA, Evaluator, Arizona SNAP-Ed, The University of Arizona. Speakers discussed the Evaluation Framework and how Arizona SNAP-Ed has used the Framework in their evaluation efforts.

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Journal of Physical Activity and Health Publishes Special Issue on Youth Energy Expenditure

Since 2012, NCCOR has sponsored a Youth Energy Expenditure (YEE) workgroup to support research efforts to achieve consensus on methods and measures for establishing youth energy expenditure values. This is important for efforts to reduce childhood obesity because standardized measures to quantify the amount of energy children expend during physical activity have been lacking. These measures are vital for comparing the effects of physical activity interventions and for cost and benefit research.

Until recently, researchers studying children and adolescents have relied on the Adult Compendium of Physical Activities to translate the energy cost of various physical activities into standardized values. However, the energy costs of physical activity change as children grow and mature, making adult values inappropriate for youth.

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Find all major sources of childhood obesity data in one location: NCCOR’s Catalogue of Surveillance Systems

Are you, your students, or your colleagues studying childhood obesity? NCCOR’s Catalogue of Surveillance Systems is a free, online resource that connects you to more than 100 publicly available datasets. The recently updated Catalogue streamlines the process of finding the datasets you need, expanding your options, while saving you time.

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New report provides important data on health-related practices in secondary schools

Bridging the Gap has released a comprehensive report examining U.S. secondary school policies and practices related to nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention.

The report, entitled School Policies and Practices to Improve Health and Prevent Obesity: National Secondary School Results, Volume 6, focuses on students in grades 8, 10, and 12 and includes data from nationally representative samples of public middle and high schools. It provides new information from the 2013-14 school year on school meals, competitive foods and beverages, drinking water in schools, physical activity (including physical education, sports participation, and walking and biking to school), progress made in fulfilling the federal wellness policy mandate, and much more. It also includes annual trends from the 2006-07 school year forward.

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Advancing research on youth energy expenditure: Call for article submissions

For approximately 25 years, researchers have used the adult Compendium of Physical Activities as a standardized system to code the energy expenditure, or Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) intensity, of adult physical activities. Until recently, those interested in studying youth often relied on the adult Compendium and adult MET values as a proxy for youth values. However, the resting metabolic rate and activity energy expenditure are different in youth than in adults and can vary significantly across ages as youth mature physically and improve motor skills. Therefore, an updated, comprehensive youth Compendium is needed to expand on this previous work.

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Physical Activity Design Guidelines for School Architecture: New tool for built environment researchers and designers

According to a 2012 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, up to 50 percent of a child’s waking hours are spent in school. Furthermore, much of this time is spent sedentary. In efforts to decrease childhood obesity, research has increasingly focused on physical activity in the school environment. As this body of evidence continues to grow, however, a knowledge gap has formed between research and school design practice.

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NCCOR, JPB Foundation form alliance to support Measures Registry

Through a two-year grant from The JPB Foundation, the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) will strengthen its landmark Measures Registry by creating user guides for researchers. With more than 1,000 measures in the Measures Registry, the new guides will help users choose measures best suited for their research and evaluation work.

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More physical activity improved school performance

Oct. 14, 2014, Medical Xpress

Just two hours of extra physical activity each week can improve school performance. This has been shown by a study of approximately 2,000 12-year-olds carried out by scientists at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg [in Sweden].

Researchers Lina Bunketorp Käll, Michael Nilsson, and Thomas Linden at the Centre for Brain Repair and Rehabilitation at the Sahlgrenska Academy, tested the hypothesis that increased physical activity stimulates learning and improves school performance. Continue reading

After-school exercise yields brain gains

Sept. 29, 2014, HealthDay

By Tara Haelle

Regular daily exercise appears to improve children’s attention and multitasking skills, according to a new study.

Elementary school-age students who participated in an after-school program with plenty of physical activity showed greater improvements in several areas of so-called “executive function” than similar students who did not participate.

Executive function refers to a range of mental or “cognitive” skills that include memory, focus, attention, and the ability to switch back and forth between tasks.

Lead researcher Charles Hillman said that students who had the highest attendance in the program saw the biggest gains in mental skills. Continue reading

Don’t forget: Register for Sept. 10 webinar on U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity

At a congressional briefing in April, the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP), in collaboration with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), released the groundbreaking 2014 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. NPAP focuses on tactics and strategies for addressing physical activity. The report card is the first in a historic series of report cards that will provide an unprecedented benchmark using a common methodology on this critical public health issue.

A free hour-long webinar about the implications of the Physical Activity Report Card will be held on Sept. 10 at 1 p.m., ET. The webinar will include a question and answer session with Peter Katzmarzyk, Ph.D., chair of the U.S. Report Card Research Advisory Committee and associate executive director at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University and Russell Pate, Ph.D., chairman of the NPAP Alliance and professor at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. Continue reading