Year of Publication



Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. Jerod Stapleton

Committee Member

Dr. Kathryn Cardarelli

Committee Member

Dr. Caitlin Pope


Obesity rates across the U.S. are increasing, especially among adolescent females. Physical activity rates have been associated with obesity and many related health outcomes. Regular physical activity can help adolescents improve their cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones, control their weight, and reduce depression 1. It can also help reduce the risk of developing health conditions like heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, type II diabetes, and obesity 1. Thus, physical activity among youth provides a risk factor to target, with the intention of eventually decreasing obesity rates.

Recommended physical education class CDC guidelines are not being met across the U.S. In 2017, only 52% of high school students attended PE classes in an average week, and only 30% of high school students attended daily 1. Specifically, about 75% of girls had low PE participation rates by not attending PE class on one or more days in an average week when they were in school 2. Female high school students should be targeted through school-based interventions.

Therefore, we propose a program using a school-based approach to modify current physical education curriculum and improve physical activity and health education communication. We will work with local experts on developing and maintaining the curriculum and communication materials. By modifying current curriculum, we will work with physical education teachers to focus activities on enjoyment and increased participation. We will collaborate with the local health department, physical education teachers from participating schools, administrators and school employees, and the local board of education. We will evaluate the program outcomes using a longitudinal study design to examine the baseline and follow-up data regarding physical activity rates. We will also conduct formative planning to explore the participating schools, staff, and create trainings, demonstrations, and workshops.

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