Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science




Diet and Exercise

First Advisor

Spyridoula Vazou


Childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years and the school is an ideal place for children to be immersed in a healthy lifestyle environment. SWITCH is multi-component program designed to promote student health, by switching what students Do, View, and Chew. SWITCH classroom is a new module that integrates physical activity with academic subjects and nutrition in the classroom. The purposes of this study were to examine the feasibility of the SWITCH classroom module and its effect on student’s self-perceived classroom engagement.

Six 3rd grade classes (3 intervention, N= 43; 3 control, N = 64) from 3 schools in Iowa participated over a 7-week period. The subscales of behavioral and emotional engagement with learning (Skinner et al., 2009) were completed before and after the intervention by both groups. Engagement with the SWITCH activities was also measured at the end of the intervention. Each classroom was observed once during the 7-weeks to measure the acute effect SWITCH had on classroom engagement. To assess intervention fidelity, intervention teachers recorded the frequency, duration, their experience and their students’ experience from using the SWITCH activities through a daily log.

Over the seven-week implementation period, the compliance rate for using the SWITCH activities was on average 75% (~2.5 times out of the 3 recommended days). The teachers were satisfied with the activities (M=4.14±0.60, on a 5-point scale) and the students enjoyed them (M=2.84±0.39, on a 3-point scale). Behavioral and emotional engagement did not differ between groups across time, meaning that engagement for learning was not impaired due to the SWITCH classroom-based physical activities. For on-task behavior, ANOVA showed a significant difference between the intervention and control group. Hierarchical regression analysis, controlling for gender and baseline engagement in learning, showed that both behavioral and emotional engagement in the SWITCH activities significantly predicted posttest engagement in learning.

The present findings affirm that the SWITCH classroom activities can be easily implemented in the classroom without negatively impacting students’ engagement in learning. Given the short implementation period, it is possible that a longer intervention time is needed to elicit the desired changes. Additionally, the result that engagement in SWITCH physical activities predicted engagement in learning is very promising in enhancing students’ engagement in learning.


Copyright Owner

Katharine N. Long



File Format


File Size

69 pages

Included in

Kinesiology Commons