Title

The Lifestyle of our Kids (LOOK) project: Outline of methods

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

This methods paper outlines the overall design of a community-based multidisciplinary longitudinal study with the intent to stimulate interest and communication from scientists and practitioners studying the role of physical activity in preventive medicine. In adults, lack of regular exercise is a major risk factor in the development of chronic degenerative diseases and is a major contributor to obesity, and now we have evidence that many of our children are not sufficiently active to prevent early symptoms of chronic disease. The lifestyle of our kids (LOOK) study investigates how early physical activity contributes to health and development, utilizing a longitudinal design and a cohort of eight hundred and thirty 7–8-year-old (grade 2) school children followed to age 11–12 years (grade 6), their average family income being very close to that of Australia. We will test two hypotheses, that (a) the quantity and quality of physical activity undertaken by primary school children will influence their psychological and physical health and development; (b) compared with existing practices in primary schools, a physical education program administered by visiting specialists will enhance health and development, and lead to a more positive perception of physical activity. To test the first hypothesis we will monitor all children longitudinally over the 4 years. To test the second we will involve an intervention group of 430 children who receive two 50 min physical education classes every week from visiting specialists and a control group of 400 who continue with their usual primary school physical education with their class-room teachers. At the end of grades 2, 4, and 6 we will measure several areas of health and development including blood risk factors for chronic disease, cardiovascular structure and function, physical fitness, psychological characteristics and perceptions of physical activity, bone structure and strength, motor control, body composition, nutritional intake, influence of teachers and family, and academic performance.

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

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