Project FitWizard

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Here is a write-up from our department about a new project I’m working on:

Project FitWizard: Increasing Physical Activity in Schools

Funded by the State of Tennessee Department of Health

$489,000 over three years (2013-2015)

Principal Investigator Ken Ward (Public Health). Co-Principal Investigators: Trey Martindale (Instruction and Curriculum Leadership), and Gerhild Ullman, Michelle Stockton, and Sami Yli-Pilpari, all of Health and Sport Sciences.

Our project responds to the call of the Institute of Medicine to implement physical activity (PA) throughout the school day and integrate PA into the curriculum beyond physical education courses. Educators will be taught via an online course about prevalent chronic health issues and about how regular PA can reduced a personís risk of diabetes and obesity. We expect that educatorsí increased awareness and knowledge is likely to enhance their perceptions of and attitudes towards the value of PA. We will harness the openness towards PA and support teachersí efforts to integrate PA into their curricula.

To increase the use of PA throughout the school day, we will establish a statewide award system to recognize innovative curricula (lesson plans, etc.) that propose how to integrate PA in subjects other than physical education in grades one through twelve. We will also create a searchable web-based portal to collect and feature these teacher-designed curricula and materials. The goals of our project are (1) to increase teachersí, prospective teachersí and administratorsí knowledge about the role of PA in improving health and reducing risk factors for diseases, and (2) to provide educators with innovative teaching resources about implementing PA throughout the school day.

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