“Linking After-School Program Participation With Latino Youths’ Obesity and Physical Fitness Outcomes”
This Salud America! pilot research project examines the link between participation in community-based after-school programming and physical fitness and overweight status among adolescents in a San Francisco Bay Area community. The study used individual-level administrative data from public and private agencies in Redwood City, Calif., to ask the following questions: 1) What is the extent of participation in primarily fitness-focused and other types of after-school programs? Which students are most likely to participate in each?; and 2) What are the effects of participation in after-school programs on students’ physical fitness and overweight trajectories over time? Are there differences in the effects of fitness-focused programs and other types of programs? To answer these questions, we examined the fitness and overweight status of 1,105 5th and 7th grade students. The study followed the same students over four years to analyze whether participating in after-school programs had an effect on whether a student was physically fit, and on whether he or she was overweight two years later, when they were in 7th and 9th grades, respectively. Students were mostly Latino (63%).