Continuing Education

2017 Webinars

Childhood Obesity: Is Physical Activity an Effective Intervention?

Presenter: Cheryl A. Howe, PhD, ACSM-CEP, FACSM

Date: Thursday, April 27, 2017

Time: 2 to 3 pm EDT (11 am to 12 pm PDT)

Registration closes Wednesday, April 26 at 5 pm EDT (2 pm PDT)


Program Summary:

Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic. While it is generally accepted that this problem is related to the lack of physical activity, not all activity-based interventions have reported positive outcomes on obesity. Limitations in the ability to accurately measure children’s free-play physical activity thwart our understanding of the true relationship between physical activity and healthy growth patterns. This webinar will discuss and compare some of these notable activity-based interventions, their designs, strengths/weakness, and final outcomes. Based on this evidence, we will end by discussing the best practices and recommendations for curbing excessive growth patterns and finally, identify tools clinicians can use to fight childhood obesity. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. To identify differences in physical activity levels between healthy weight and overweight/obese youth.

  2. To describe the effectiveness of physical activity interventions (past and present) on weight management in youth.

  3. To summarize problems related to assessing physical activity level and the factors that promote or hinder the behavior in this population.

  4. To integrate this information into best practices and recommendations for physical activity in youth.

  5. To relate this information to the clinical practice.


About the Presenter:

Dr. Howe earned her PhD in Kinesiology (Pediatric Physical Activity Measurement) from the University of Massachusetts; M.S. in Human Performance (Pediatric Exercise Physiology) from Ball State University; and B.S. in Exercise Science from Lake Superior State University. Her research focuses on developing physical activity interventions for the prevention of childhood obesity. Specifically, she assesses the energy cost of children’s preferred physical activity and explores the factors that contribute to the promotion of this behavior. As a technology buff, she has developed methodologies that can overcome some of the barriers to physical activity in children by permitting the assessment of children’s physical activity in this free-living environment. One approach for measuring children’s physical activity is the use of a light-weight, portable metabolic analyzer that provides the child the freedom of movement during free-play while indirectly measuring oxygen consumption and heart rate, the gold standards for measuring energy expenditure. Although highly accurate, this method is limited by the cost of the metabolic unit. This has encouraged me to search for lower cost, yet similarly effective, means of measuring this free-play behavior. I am currently developing another approach to measure children’s physical activity levels in a free-living environment on a much larger scale. This approach combines global positioning systems (GPS) and accelerometry to objectively determine a child’s location and intensity of their physical activity within their playground, as well as the playground amenities that may be promoting the behavior. These methods are increasing our understanding of children’s unique physical activity behavior and the factors that influence their participation.