Date of Award

Spring 2018


Capstone - Open Access


Community Health Education

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Allison Higgins


Introduction: Obesity amongst our nation’s youth is on the rise and has drastically increased in recent decades. This chronic health issue lends to potential risk of developing comorbidity of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, an increased risk of premature death and many other serious chronic diseases. Obesity prevention and health promotion programs aimed at targeting obesity, and more specifically childhood obesity, should implement nutrition and/or physical activity components. Effective programs have taken into account moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) measurements, class size and class management (if the program utilizes an education or group fitness component), and the demographic needs of the population. Research Questions: The purpose of this research is to develop a plan of best practice for Active Science, a nationwide obesity prevention program, based on classroom management strategies as well as physical activities that maximize MVPA. By implementing effective classroom management techniques and physical activities, MVPA will increase amongst children, decreasing childhood obesity rates and increasing the validity of Active Science. Methods: Active Science classes at the highest performing and lowest performing sites in the Merrimack Valley were observed for three weeks. Detailed notes on 11 observational points (including but not limited to: MVPA, Step Count, Classroom Management Techniques, etc.) were taken and a comparative analysis was performed to produce a comprehensive list of best practices to improve the overall consistency and success of Active Science. Results: The results of this study proved the research hypothesis correct in that effective classroom management techniques and modified physical activities increase MVPA. Conclusions: It can be concluded that this study was successful in identifying several ways to increase MVPA within Active Science classrooms through effective classroom management and modified activities. However, more research is needed to fully create a comprehensive list of best practices for Active Science.