Effects of a 12-week physical activity protocol delivered by YMCA after-school counselors (Youth Fit for Life) on fitness and self-efficacy changes in 5-12-year-old boys and girls

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2005 Dec;76(4):468-76. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2005.10599320.


To address reduced physical education (PE) in elementary schools, a 12-week physical activity protocol was tested on 5-12-year-old, primarily African American, girls (n = 226) and boys (n = 344) at 14 YMCA after-school care sites. The 3 times/week, 45-min session curriculum included cardiovascular, resistance, and flexibility training, in which all children could participate simultaneously, and a behavioral skills education component. After-school counselors, formerly untrained in PE methods, administered the sessions, with periodic supervision by YMCA wellness staff members. Analyses of the eight Age x Sex subsamples indicated significant improvements on body composition, strength, and endurance, both within-groups and when predicted changes due to maturation were accounted for. Exercise barriers self-efficacy significantly increased in subsamples of 9-10- and 11-12-year-old girls only. The need for replication across ethnic groups was suggested. Limitations and the need for extension of research on supplementation of elementary school PE were discussed.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Age Factors
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Child
  • Child Care / methods*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Sex Factors