National After-School Program shows results in DC fighting childhood obesity, keeping kids out of trouble

A new report from DC SCORES shows the effectiveness of its after-school program in District public schools. DC SCORES partnered with Symphonic Strategies, an independent consulting firm, to assess its program serving over 700 elementary and middle school students in Washington, DC. The participants improved in all areas, notably in their physical fitness.

Over a 12-week period in spring 2009, a sample representing over 10% of DC SCORES participants was surveyed.  The report found:

Physical Fitness Gains:

  • Cardiovascular capacity increased by 61% by the end of the program;
  • Participants either maintained or decreased Body Mass Index (BMI) levels with decreases in Overweight and Obese classifications;
  • Boys classified as Overweight decreased by 10%;
  • Students reported having more energy, which correlated with getting homework done and eating fruits and vegetables.

Increases in school engagement:

  • 7% more students liked school at the end of the program;
  • Students who felt safe and supported by their teachers and coaches increased by 11%;
  • Participating in and liking DC SCORES correlated with a student’s belief that s/he will graduate to the next grade, from eighth grade, and from high school.

Childhood obesity is a national epidemic.  In DC, ranked the ninth highest obesity rate in the country, over 35% of children ages 10-17 are overweight or obese.  This stems from a lack of consistent school-based physical education, healthy food options, and safe places for children to play in the District.  Due to this lack of access, children from lower incomes are more likely to be overweight or obese.

“DC SCORES is working directly with youth who need us most,” said Amy Nakamoto, DC SCORES executive director. “By providing physical activity through soccer, combined with creative writing and service-learning enrichment, we are developing future leaders of our country who are fit, confident, and able to lead in all environments.”

To read the full press release, please click here.

And to see and download the full report, please click here.