A Community-Based Physical Education and Activity Intervention for African American Preadolescent Girls: A Strategy to Reduce Racial Disparities in Health

In an attempt to reduce racial disparities in health in one inner-city neighborhood, Lively Ladies, a physical education and activity intervention program was created to help pre-adolescent African American girls learn the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle throughout life. Flyers were used to recruit eligible participants and girls who expressed interest were given an informed consent form and letter describing the program to share with their parents. Girls who returned the signed consent form were enrolled in the ten-week program at no additional cost other than the $10 annual community organization member dues. The girls met 11 times over the course of the program, participating in a combination of physical activities and classroom-based curriculum. Completion of activities and continued engagement was reinforced through prizes, a pizza party, and certificates of completion. A poster in the classroom with the participants’ names and each lesson’s title was used as a form of self monitoring – at the completion of each lesson, girls in attendance were given a sticker to place next to their name on the poster. Parental influence was determined to be an important component in maintaining physical activity habits of children, so Lively Ladies created a brochure to share with participants’ parents that contained: an overview of the program, information on the prevalence of physical inactivity in children, especially that of African American girls, benefits of regular physical activity, and what parents can do to encourage their children to be physically active. Out of the nine girls enrolled in Lively Ladies, eight successfully completed the program.

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