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Strengthen the Evidence for Maternal and Child Health Programs

New: MCHbest strategies database for sample ESMs

Evidence Tools
MCHbest. NPM 8: Physical Activity

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Strategy. Family-Based Physical Activity Interventions

Approach. Include families in physical activity interventions to encourage support for positive behavior for children and adolescents through educational sessions and role modeling.

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Overview.  Family-based physical activity interventions rely on engaging parents and guardians to participate in and to promote physical activity within a family environment. Increasing familial support for physical activity can be introduced through educational sessions on health, goal-setting, and family behavioral management. The hope is that by increasing positivity related to physical activity and other healthy activities in the home as a whole, that it will benefit children and adolescents within the household. Examples of studies with positive outcomes used a variety of educational opportunities for families and children at local community centers to promote healthy behaviors and physical activity as well as educational materials (booklets, workbooks) to help organize physical activity opportunities within the home.1, 2

Evidence. Mixed. Initial studies showed some positive results and some mixed results for strategies to establish positive family-based support promoting physical activity. Further research is needed to identify critical components and confirm effects. Access the peer-reviewed evidence through the MCH Digital Library. (Read more about understanding evidence ratings).

Target Audience.Children/adolescents.

Outcome. Increase in physical activity levels. For detailed outcomes related to each study supporting this strategy, click on the peer-reviewed evidence link above and read the “Intervention Results” for each study.

Examples from the Field. Access descriptions of ESMs that use this strategy directly or intervention components that aligns with this strategy. You can use these ESMs to see how other Title V agencies are addressing the NPM.

Sample ESMs. Using the approach “Include families in physical activity interventions to encourage support for positive behavior for children and adolescents through educational sessions and role modeling,” here are sample ESMs you can use to model for your own measures using the Results-Based Accountability framework (for suggestions on how to develop programs to support this strategy, see The Role of Title V in Adapting Strategies):

Quadrant 1:
Measuring Quantity of Effort
("What/how much did we do?")

  • Number of parents/caregivers who receive educational sessions on promoting physical activity and healthy eating within the home.
  • Number of children/adolescents receiving afterschool programming to support physical activity.

Quadrant 2:
Measuring Quality of Effort
("How well did we do it?")

  • Percent of parents/caregivers who receive educational sessions on promoting physical activity within the home.
  • Percent of children/adolescents receiving afterschool programming to support physical activity.

Quadrant 3:
Measuring Quantity of Effect
("Is anyone better off?")

  • Number of parents/caregivers who report increased knowledge on how to promote physical activity within the home.
  • Number of children/adolescents who report positive behavioral changes regarding physical activity and healthy living at home.

Quadrant 4:
Measuring Quality of Effect
("How are they better off?")

  • Percent of parents/caregivers who increase opportunities for physical activity within the home.
  • Percent of children/adolescents who increase physical activity levels to meet the goal of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day.

Note. ESMs become stronger as they move from measuring quantity to measuring quality (moving from Quadrants 1 and 3, respectively, to Quadrants 2 and 4) and from measuring effort to measuring effect (moving from Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively, to Quadrants 3 and 4).

Learn More. Read how to create stronger ESMs and how to measure ESM impact more meaningfully through Results-Based Accountability.


References:

1 Hingle MD, Turner T, Going S, Ussery C, Roe DJ, Saboda K, Kutob R, Stump C. Feasibility of a family-focused YMCA-based diabetes prevention program in youth: The E.P.I.C. Kids (Encourage, Practice, and Inspire Change) Study. Preventative Medicine Reports. 2019;14:100840.

2 Rhodes RE, Blanchard CM, Quinlan A, Naylor PJ, Warburton DER. Family physical activity planning and child physical activity outcomes: A randomized trial. American Journal of Preventative Medicine. 2019;57(2):135-144.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.