The aim of this renewal of Project SPARK (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids) is to support analyses of the full set of outcome data so the original goals of the study can be accomplished.
The aims of the current SPARK Demonstration and Evaluation grant are to develop and evaluate a health-related elementary school physical education (PE) program that is designed to increase physical activity both in and out of school. The study compared two levels of implementation of the SPARK PE and self- management program to a control condition with usual PE. In one condition, classroom teachers were systematically trained to implement the program, and in the second condition, PE specialists implemented the program. The SPARK PE curriculum is a comprehensive program designed to maximize physical activity in class, improve health-related fitness, improve sports skills, be enjoyable to children, and be practical for use by classroom teachers. The innovative self-management classroom curriculum is designed to promote physical activity out of school by teaching children behavior change skills, reinforcing physical activity participation, and increasing parent support of child activity. The intervention was implemented for two full academic years, and a third year of assessment evaluates the maintenance of program effects. The effects of the SPARK program on quality and quantity of PE classes, physical activity outside of school, physical fitness (mile run, sit-ups, skinfolds), and cognitive (attitudes, behavioral intentions, self- perceptions) outcomes were assessed. Survey and fitness tests were administered to all participants in the Fall and Spring of 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. An objective measure of physical activity out of school (accelerometer) was implemented, and parents were surveyed. Process measures included direct observations of PE and self-management classes, classroom teacher surveys, and in-depth standardized interviews with teachers and students. Quality control of data collection was a high priority, and the reliability of surveys and anthropometric assessments have been documented. Ninety-eight percent of eligible 4th grade students enrolled in the study, and cohort retention has been successful (90% retention after 2 years). Preliminary analyses based on two years of intervention in two cohorts of students (n=1194) revealed significant and substantial effects on cardiorespiratory fitness (mile run), body fat (skinfolds), and muscular endurance (sit-ups). The accelerometer data revealed no significant effects on physical activity out of school, and further analyses are being conducted to confirm and/or explain this finding. The PE curriculum and teacher training programs significantly improved both the quantity and quality of PE. All tasks proposed in the original application have been completed on time. The investigators have been productive in publishing the results of pilot studies and analyses of baseline data. The proposed renewal is essential to support analyses of the follow-up data, which assesses maintenance of intervention effects. The original timeline for the current grant calls for the follow-up assessments to be completed in early June 1994, and the grant terminates at the end of June 1994. This renewal will allow us to determine the extent to which cognitive, behavioral, and physical outcomes of the SPARK program are maintained up to one year after the intervention. The extension will also support continued analyses of the SPARK data set, with 3 years of data on almost 100 children, to address important questions related to the behavioral epidemiology of physical activity in children.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1-CCT-I (M2))
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
San Diego State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
San Diego
United States
Zip Code
Sallis, J F; McKenzie, T L; Kolody, B et al. (1999) Effects of health-related physical education on academic achievement: project SPARK. Res Q Exerc Sport 70:127-34
Marshall, S J; Sarkin, J A; Sallis, J F et al. (1998) Tracking of health-related fitness components in youth ages 9 to 12. Med Sci Sports Exerc 30:910-6
Armstrong, C A; Sallis, J F; Alcaraz, J E et al. (1998) Children's television viewing, body fat, and physical fitness. Am J Health Promot 12:363-8
McKenzie, T L; Sallis, J F; Kolody, B et al. (1997) Long-term effects of a physical education curriculum and staff development program: SPARK. Res Q Exerc Sport 68:280-91
Sallis, J F; McKenzie, T L; Alcaraz, J E et al. (1997) The effects of a 2-year physical education program (SPARK) on physical activity and fitness in elementary school students. Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids. Am J Public Health 87:1328-34
Kolody, B; Sallis, J F (1995) A prospective study of ponderosity, body image, self-concept, and psychological variables in children. J Dev Behav Pediatr 16:1-5
Zakarian, J M; Hovell, M F; Hofstetter, C R et al. (1994) Correlates of vigorous exercise in a predominantly low SES and minority high school population. Prev Med 23:314-21
Sallis, J F; Condon, S A; Goggin, K J et al. (1993) The development of self-administered physical activity surveys for 4th grade students. Res Q Exerc Sport 64:25-31
Sallis, J F (1993) Epidemiology of physical activity and fitness in children and adolescents. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 33:403-8
Sallis, J F; McKenzie, T L; Alcaraz, J E (1993) Habitual physical activity and health-related physical fitness in fourth-grade children. Am J Dis Child 147:890-6

Showing the most recent 10 out of 16 publications