- Madsen, K., Thompson, H., Wlasiuk, L., Queliza, E., Schmidt, C., & Newman, T. (2009). After School Program to Reduce Obesity in Minority Children: A Pilot Study. Journal of Child Health Care, 13(4), 333-346.
The authors of the article were:
- Kristine Madsen – University of California-San Francisco, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Community Health & Human Development.
- Hannah Thompson – UCSF, Department of Pediatrics, San Francisco, CA
- Lidya Wlasiuk – UCSF, Department of Pediatrics, San Francisco, CA
- Emily Queliza – America SCORES Bay Area, San Francisco, CA
- Colin Schmidt – America SCORES Bay Area, San Francisco, CA
- Thomas Newman – University of California-San Francisco, as a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Division of Clinical Epidemiology.
The title of the article is “After-School Program to Reduce Obesity in Minority Children: A Pilot Study.” The title does meet APA requirements as the total number of words are below 12, and it sufficiently conveys what the article is about, even going as far as to indicate the type of study it is discussing.
The journal name within which the article is contained, is the Journal of Child Healthcare, volume number 13 issue number 4, from page 333 to page 346.
The article was obtained from the National Center for Biotechnology information website, provided by the url: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3013280/ although additional information is also available on the SAGE publications website url: http://chc.sagepub.com/content/13/4/333.abstract
The article follows APA guidelines as to the need for an abstract, since it has an abstract. In this sense, the researchers follow APA guidelines for writing and formatting a research paper, as they provide a concise summary of what the research is about, providing its key points. The reader does not need to go through the whole article, to determine the research questions, methods employed, participants, data analysis results and the conclusions. Further, the article also provides areas for future research, by concluding that the findings indicate that it is possible to reduce childhood obesity through the use of community based programs.
The researchers hypothesized that the SCORES program would have a positive impact not only on the participants ‘ cardio-respiratory endurance but also on their body mass index. Furthermore, the researchers also hypothesized that the levels of attendance as well as retention would be high enough to warrant the institution of a large randomized trial.
The dependent variables in the study are:
- The Body Mass Index
The independent variable is the length of enrollment into the America SCORES program.
The research study is quantitative in nature, as it mainly deals with numerical data on fitness and the body mass index. The study itself actually entailed assessing the rate of change in fitness and body mass index (BMI) over a period of one year, during which the participants were involved in the SCORES program. The findings and data sets collected are then analyzed and inferences made based on the final outcome of the percentage of children who were still overweight or obese following participation in the SCORES program. These findings were then related to attendance findings for the participants, in order for a clear conclusion over the correlation between participation in the program and weight gain to be established. All variables involved in the study are numerically calculated, and data analysis is done accordingly.
The sample included 178 participants from 3rd grade, 4th grade and 5th graders. In terms of racial distribution, 47% of the sample was Latino, 18% African American, and 25% Asian. This was a fitting sample, given that the study primarily targeted minority groups. The group was not subdivided into any smaller groups, with the only differentiating factor between the participants being their final anthropometric measures and the levels of attendance.
As already mentioned the sample selection was done on the basis that the participant had to be a member of the minority groups, with data collection occurring twice; pre-test as well as post test. The initial data collected acted as a baseline to which the final results were compared to assess for any progress.
- Data on fitness was collected using the 20-meter shuttle test
- Data on BMI was inferred from anthropometric measures collected from the children. Weight for instance, was collected using a portable electronic scale, and height measured to the nearest tenth of a centimeter using a stadiometer that was portable.
Assessing various aspects of the APA format proved a bit difficult due to the fact that the article was an online article and not the original article itself. As such, the article did not have proper page headers or page numbers. Assessing page alignment, margins, spacing, typeface, order of pages, levels of headings as well as other format aspects was also not possible. However, the reference page failed to follow the APA guidelines, as not only were the references numbered, but they did not follow the author, date, title, place of publication, publisher format.
The article, based on the APA guidelines of sections of a paper, contained an Introduction which also included the literature review. This was followed by the methods section, the results section, as well as the discussion section as the last part of the article. The article lacks a clearly defined section on literature review as well as a section specifically outlining the intent of the research at that time.
The introduction contains a succinct description of the problem, the American SCORES program, as well as the intended approach to exploring the problem and the expected results. The methods section is further subdivided into subjects, description of the program, procedure and data analysis, detailing the approaches taken at each of the 4 stages. The discussion offers a restatement of the study, its findings, as well as the implications of those findings.
There is a reference provided for every piece of information cited, although the reference list is not formatted according to APA guidelines.
One of the major limitations of the study, based on the researchers’ own admission, was incomplete data. This came about as a result of the program organizers struggling to balance between evaluation of the program evaluation and ensuring the proper delivery of the program itself. The second limitation was that all participants in the program were selected and willing. That means the results for unwilling participants could be different.
The researchers do mention that the parents of the children had been seeking permission / consent before proceeding with the study.
The researchers also specifically discussed the value of the America SCORES system and what it means in the report. It also clearly outlined the planned approach to the study. However, the researchers failed to clearly provide attendance statistics, which in a way made it quite difficult to follow the link between attendance of the SCORES program and the changes in fitness levels. The attendances are actually provided in percentages, as opposed to clear figures that the reader can follow and directly relate to the provided changes in BMI scores as well as in fitness data. In fact, had the information been provided in average attendance levels for the specific groups, it would have been easier to compare these figures to the recorded changes in BMI and fitness data. However, the topic’s relevance and the contribution of the study to educational knowledge cannot be faulted or doubted, as it does serve to convince the reader of the effectiveness of the America SCORES program, and highlight the potential of community based after school programs when it comes to reducing childhood obesity.
The researchers argue that “While physicians can provide important information and encouragement about physical activity and nutrition, children leave the physician’s office and are exposed to environments that do so healthy choices are not encouraged “(Madsen, Thompson, Wlasiuk, Queliza, Schmidt & Newman 2009).
The researchers succinctly point out the fact that while physicians play a key role by providing essential information, as well as encouragement on the importance of nutrition and physical in the end, they cannot control the degree of exposure to environments which discourage healthy choices.
As already stated above, the authors when highlighting one of the limitations of the study, claim that “A second limitation of this study is that participants in SCORES were recruited by coaches and elected to enroll. Children who wouldn’t volunteer for SCORES might not benefit equally from the program. However, overweight children – a crucial group to reach – were both willing to enroll and showed the greatest decline in BMI z-score “(Madsen, Thompson, Wlasiuk, Queliza, Schmidt, & nbsp; Newman, 2009).