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SPARK After School Research

Click Here to download a summary of SPARK After School research & outcomes.

The SPARK After School (AS) program being disseminated today applies the lessons learned from rigorous research and subsequent field-testing in the “real-world.”

SPARK AS is designed to provide children and adolescents ages 5-14 with inclusive, highly active movement opportunities that foster social and motor development while maximizing time spent in MVPA (moderate to vigorous physical activity) and fitness pursuits.

Note: The numbers after each outcome correlate to the project/paper references that follow.

  • Experiences with:
    • Variety of implementers including YMCA’s, Parks and Recreation, Boys and Girls Clubs, school district led AS programs
    • Large implementations and ability to scale (1,2,3; and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, statewide in PA)
    • Urban projects e.g., Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Chicago Parks District, NYC Dept. of Health, many more)
    • Excellence of training component (i.e., Hawaii Fun 5, YMCA Greater Miami, Miami Dade County Parks, Arlington, Virginia Dept. of Parks and Recreation) and hundreds more via SPARK AS workshop evaluations)
    • Prompted more physical activity scheduling (1)
    • Demonstrated ability to successfully adapt to Summer Camp environments (4)
    • Saved staff preparation time, improved their work lives, and developed leader confidence (1)
    • Supported need for more PA in after school settings (5)
    • Referred to as an “Inexpensive Strategy” (1)
Changes in Physical Activity and Healthy Behaviors
  • Increases in youth:
    • MVPA (Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity)  (1,2,3)
    • Fitness scores (1,2)
    • Nutrition knowledge (1,2)
    • Time in game play (1)
    • Activity levels away from their AS program (1)
    • Daily strenuous leisure time (1)
  • Decreases in youth:
    • BMI (2)
    • Body fat via skinfold (2)
    • Blood pressure (1,2)
    • Time spent in management (less active, not learning) segments of classes (1)
    • Minutes standing, sitting, and lying during classes (1)
    • Sedentary behaviors (2)
Selected References:

1)  Hawaii High 5 dissemination and studies, University of Hawaii

2)  Miami Dade’s Fit2Play study and papers, University of Miami

3)  YMCA of Greater Miami study, University of Miami

4)  Arlington, Virginia project/study, Virginia Dept. of Health

5)  California Journal of Health Promotion Vol 3, Issue 4, 2005

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