HealthCorps Study Reveals Combining Innovative Health Education with PE Reduces Weight and Increases Performance in High School Students

Posted 11/25/2014 | By HealthCorps

MEDIA CONTACT: Lisa Troshinsky-Vernekoff

HealthCorps Study Reveals Combining Innovative Health Education with PE Reduces Weight and Increases Performance in High School Students

HealthCorps Collaborates With Staff at Benson High School to Create Fit2Live and Learn Program

Chicago, IL (Nov. 25, 2014) – HealthCorps®, a 501(c)(3) founded in 2003 by heart surgeon and television show host Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa, presented findings to the American Heart Association’s 2014 Scientific Sessions on research conducted over an 8 month period at Benson High School in Portland, Oregon. The study indicated that if students increase daily physical activity and integrate it with health knowledge, the end result will be both weight loss and behavior change. Combining two related classes into one longer class provided actual physical time to get up to, and even over, 200-minutes of physical activity a week. HealthCorps teaches high school students about the benefits of proper nutrition, exercise and mental resiliency and discovered through this research that by combining traditional PE and Health classes into a 90-minute integrated health and wellness course, students showed significant modification of lifestyle behaviors and positive changes in weight and fitness.

Typically, if high schools have PE classes, they are 45-50 minutes long. In a 90-minutes session, two things happen. First, the elimination of changing classrooms and retaking attendance allows for a much longer usable period of time; approximately 80-minutes compared to the 20-28 minutes of usable time in a 45-minute PE class. Second, the long duration of usable time allows teachers and staff to integrate educational components on nutrition, sleep, and other health topics into this class time; incorporating practical examples and relating lessons to the students’ lives.

HealthCorps and school staff measured weight loss, health knowledge and behavioral change using pre-and post-surveys of 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.

According to Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs: Comparative Effectiveness Review and Meta-Analysis (www.ahrq.gov), schools have eliminated or reduced the time or frequency of PE to provide space in the school schedule for academic requirements. 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 correlation 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 Scientific Officer 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.”

About HealthCorps
HealthCorps® is a 501(c)(3) co-founded in 2003 by heart surgeon and Daytime Emmy Award-winning Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa, to combat the childhood obesity crisis. HealthCorps Coordinators carry out unique in-school and community programming targeting high-need populations. Using peer-mentoring to deliver a progressive curriculum in nutrition, fitness and mental strength, HealthCorps® Coordinators give teens purpose, help develop human character, and inspire an interest in health and culinary arts careers. HealthCorps is bringing many initiatives together to address the “Whole Child” and activate the students’ mind, body and spirit. In the fall of 2012, HealthCorps introduced HealthCorps University, a train-the-trainer professional development program that makes the HealthCorps curriculum available to virtually any school or organization. The organization boasts 56 in-school programs and 50-educator training programs in 17 states and Washington, D.C. You can follow HealthCorps on Twitter and on Facebook.

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