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ERIC Number: ED551005
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 130
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-1956-0
Improving Health among Elementary School Children: A Comparison of Aerobic and Mind-Body Exercise
Wang, Chunyun
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
Introduction: Children today are under much more stress than a few decades ago due to academic pressure, family financial hardship, competition with peers, and stressed parents. Consequently, stress-related health issues and behavioral problems, such as cardiovascular diseases, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, violent or withdrawal behaviors, have dramatically increased and cost billions of dollars annually. Research has shown that regular exercise can reduce stress and improve psychological health. However, most Western exercises: 1) are competitive in nature, and 2) emphasize developing physical strength and skills, which may add more stress for children who don't fit in or enjoy these conventional exercises. Thus, alternative exercise modalities which emphasize the balance of mind-body health are in demand for reducing stress among pediatric population. The purpose of this study is to describe the development of a mind-body exercise program and compare its effectiveness with aerobic exercise in reducing stress and improving physical health in children. Methods: A comprehensive literature review and a five-step process, including i) identifying the program, ii) developing educational strategies, iii) teaching pilot lessons, iv) consulting experts, and v) drafting the curriculum, which are based on a theoretical framework (i.e., a formative evaluation approach) were used to develop the Health Qigong for Children program. A pre- and post-test quasi-experimental design was used to compare the effects of two different modes of exercise: (1) aerobic exercise (Energize), (2) mind-body exercise (Health Qigong ), with conventional physical education (PE) activities as a control group, in terms of reducing stress from both psychological and physical perspectives among elementary school children during a 16-week intervention, as measured by State-Trait Anxiety Inventory -1(STAIC-1), Heart Rate (HR), Sit-and-Reach (SR), and Body Mass Index (BMI). Results: Sixteen theme-based lesson plans were generated based on two traditional Health Qigong forms (Baduanjin and Wuqinxi). Five promising teaching strategies were synthesized from personal teaching experience with the pedagogy of some other similar mind-body exercise programs, such as Tai Chi and Yoga. Suggestions from an expert panel and student volunteers were solicited and incorporated into the program. One hundred and one (101) children provided valid data for STAIC-1 and 105 completed the physical measurements. The repeated measures analyses of variance revealed a significant decrease in the stress level with STAIC-1 (F = 6.89, p <0.05, ? 2 = 0.064), HR (F = 70.54, p<0.001, ?2 = 0.409), SR (F = 11.68, p <0.001, ?2 = 0.103), and BMI (F = 41.97, p <0.001, ? 2 =0.292). In particular, BMI decreased more quickly in the Health Qigong group, with a mean change of 0.698 (P <0.001), than the Energize (0.197, P <0.05) and the PE group (0.224, P <0.05). Conclusions: The use of a theoretical framework was effective in developing a Health Qigong for Children program. Theme-based lessons and synthesized teaching strategies helped the Health Qigong program to be fun and age-appropriate for children. Suggestions from experts in a variety of fields strengthened the program design. The novel findings of this study were that Health Qigong was as effective as Energize and physical education activities in relieving stress symptoms (STAIC-1), reducing HR, and increasing SR among elementary school children. Given the significant reduction in BMI, mind-body exercise (i.e., Health Qigong ) should be further investigated with larger and various pediatric populations to identify a possible mechanism to help lose body weight. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: State Trait Anxiety Inventory