Program ENERGY: An Extension on Brain and Nervous System Science for 6th-Grade Elementary School Children
Program ENERGY’s goal is to reduce obesity/type 2 diabetes in suburban/rural elementary school children and families by teaching/reinforcing body science, energy balance and healthy behavior choices. An extension of PE focusing on brain and nervous system science and good decision making was delivered to 6th grade children at Tavelli Elementary School in Ft. Collins, CO. Children discover, explore, inquire and learn the basis of healthy behaviors in a challenging, scientific setting, with the support of scientists/health professionals/students. Knowledge is brought home and shared with their families. An 8-week program of classroom and outdoors activities was conducted. Beginning and end of intervention assessments including knowledge and attitudes about brain and nervous system science were conducted. Results of pre- and post- tests show statistically significant improvements in the intervention school: health and science knowledge (brain science), attitudes (mental illness), behaviors (sensory physiology, increased body acceptance), and increased interest in science/health-related careers. The intervention had high rates of enrollment and retention, positive evaluations by children and educators, produced significant positive outcomes in health/science knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and increased interest in science and health-related careers. Thus, this extension of Program ENERGY into the areas of brain and nervous system science and behavior was effective and could be replicated in other schools.