Objective: To examine the effectiveness of parental support and involvement in a low-cost intervention for the improvement of health-related fitness of high school girls through an after-school physical activity (PA) program.
Methods: This multi-site study was conducted in 2006-2007 in 7 provinces in Iran. The study population comprised of two groups of children. The first group consisted of 206 children who were randomly selected from female students (7th-10th grade) and their mothers (n=204). Another 60 children (without their mothers) were randomly selected as the control group. Overall, during 12 weeks, 24 sessions of after-school aerobic exercise were held. Health-related fitness data were collected pre- and post-intervention.
Results: The findings are based on 470 participants. The after-school PA significantly improved body mass index, resting heart rate, cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility and muscle strength and endurance in children in both groups, and in mothers. Improvement in the physiological measures of the children in the mother/daughter group was significantly better than the control group.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that after-school PA may provide an effective model for improving the health-related fitness of high school girls and their mothers. Our data show that family support, including mother's participation, contributes to enhanced health-related achievements in adolescent girls.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.