HealthCorps Study at Benson High School Presented at American Heart Association 2014 Scientific Sessions
Findings from the ongoing study at Benson High School were recently presented at the American Heart Association’s 2014 Scientific Sessions. Preliminary results in this ongoing study suggest that combining innovative health education, the HealthCorps curriculum, with physical education, reduced weight and improved performance levels in high school students. So integration of health knowledge and exercise provides weight loss and lifestyle behavior change, based on this HealthCorps study model.
Specifically in this study, a traditional PE class which would last on average 45 to 50 minutes, and a lesson plan that covers elements of nutrition, exercise, and mental resiliency, were combined into a single 90 minute session. This allowed for an academic experience with continuity and no discordant breaks (attendance taking, classroom changes). HealthCorps and school staff measured weight loss, health knowledge, and behavioral change using pre-class and post-class surveys of the participating students.
Within the first three months, 240 students lost a combined 860 pounds; mean 3.5 pounds. By the end of the 8-month school year, students lost a combined 1233 pounds; mean 5.1 pounds/student (<0.05). They decreased their mean percent body fat by 1.4% and decreased mile times by 2.1 minutes. Additionally, pre and post behavioral survey data demonstrates increase in knowledge in areas related to nutrition, physical activity and mental health. Additional data including blood pressure and BMI was collected and will be presented at The Experimental Biology Conference in April 2015.
HealthCorps and Benson High School staff developed and implemented the Fit2Live and Learn (F2LL) program specifically for the school’s freshman class of students. The F2LL program, lasting the entire school year, was a practice of sustainable and optimal exercise coupled with health education. Daily exercise, health education and mental strength activities taught students to feed their brain by understanding that the mind-body connection impacts their overall wellbeing, so healthy habits adopted in their teen years will last a lifetime. “The class time shifted from just activity to focus on overall lifestyle awareness; nutrition, how to eat, the importance of exercise all of the tools needed to live with their bodies for the rest of their lives,” commented HealthCorps Chief Academic Officer and Director of Research and Behavioral Health, Shawn Hayes. “It was the combination of meaningful education in both health and PE that made the difference. Unfortunately, too few schools today provide those subjects.”
-Amy Hendel, PA/HealthCoach