The investigators long term-goal is to help YMCA programs across the nation successfully
acheive the Y of USA "Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards". Our objective here is
threefold. First, the investigators will work with South Carolina YMCA leadership to achieve
the "Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards" and implement our HEPA Strategies in
YMCA programs across the state, evaluate the uptake of and adherence to the standards and
strategies, and identify factors that influence their implementation. Second, the
investigators will evaluate the impact of acheiving the standards on children's MVPA and the
serving and consumption of FV and water during the programs. Third, the investigators will
evaluate the costs associated with and the cost-effectiveness of meeting the standards in
terms of improvements in activity and healthy eating.
The investigators research team developed a conceptual framework that identifies critical
modifiable levers within Out of School Time programs that can be altered and/or strengthened
to reach policy or standards goals. These include the policy environment at the national,
state and local levels; characteristics of the individual site, program leadership, staff,
and children; and existing outside organizational partnerships. This framework was informed
by complex systems change, social ecology, systemic capacity building , and the literature
on the impact of public health policy that identifies key elements of the system to be
targeted as well as possible influences on those elements.
Viewing OST programs as complex systems, "Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards"
represent one of many leverage points within a system. Existing efforts to implement
standards rest solely upon the voluntary adoption of the standards, with little to no other
changes to the OST program setting. It is clear from our preliminary work and comprehensive
reviews that OST programs are falling short of meeting goals set forth in the standards.
- All children enrolled in participating afterschool programs will be eligible to take
part in the study.
- Any physical/orthopedic impairment that would limit a child's ability to participate
in regular physical activity (e.g., wheelchair user).