Physical activity (PA) is essential for adolescent health and prevention of chronic diseases. According to the CDC, children who get the recommended amount of PA (60 min/day) are at a lower risk of developing chronic diseases including cancer. PURPOSE: This study looked to utilize the area's resources by implementing an outdoor activity after school program and increase PA and cancer knowledge. METHODS: A physical activity and health education program called, Get Outside – After School Activity Program (GO-ASAP) was conducted. This program was a 20-week (2 X wk/150-180 mins) program aimed to increasing PA and reduce engagement in risky behaviors associated with cancer development in adolescents in rural Oregon. Subjects were recruited from a local middle school. Assessments of PA were taken using the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Children (PAQ-C), as well as Accelerometer data. Assessments of cancer reduction knowledge were taken using a pre-post multiple-choice test following weekly lectures. Focus groups were conducted to assess the perceptions of the subjects. RESULTS: Subjects (male = 11, female = 7) were 12.9 + .9 years old at baseline. There was a dropout of 7 leaving 11 subjects (male=7, female=4) by the end. Mean ± SD for PA results were: Self-reported baseline PA (2.06 ± 0.56) on a 5 point Likert scale. In posttest it was found that overall PA increased (2.54±0.92) which showed a statistical significant difference (p=0.042). Cancer knowledge significantly increased pre to posttests (59.27-80.55) mean average which was a significant increase (p<0.05). Five themes emerged from focus groups: (1) Students liked participating in the GO-ASAP, (2) Students learned new skills and activities while exercising outdoors, (3) Participation in the GO-ASAP had a positive effect on confidence and self-esteem, (4) Participation in the GO-ASAP had a positive effect on life-long commitments to fitness, and (4) There is a positive interaction between students and GO-ASAP leaders. Accelerometer data showed an increase in MVPA in minutes per hour (2.9±0.8 – 3.9±2.4) but was not significant (p=0.28). CONCLUSION: There was a significant change in cancer knowledge and self-reported PA, as well as positive feedback via the focus groups despite the small sample size. The program was effective in increasing PA in both self-reported and accelerometer data though a larger sample size is needed to see a significant difference in accelerometer data. The success of this program suggests the need for after school programs involving activities promoting PA into adulthood.

Supported by The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program.

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