Wizards of motion : an evaluation of an elementary school cardiovascular intervention / by Kimberly Boardman.
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The Wizards of Motion Cardiovascular Module was designed to introduce the concepts of cardiovascular disease as a preventable lifestyle outcome. Scientific experts in cardiovascular physiology, health, and education visited Grade 5 Northwestern Ontario classrooms with a portable, self-contained laboratory experience that focused on the basic structures and functions of organs within the cardiovascular systems while highlighting specific factors that contribute to a positive state of physical health. The purpose of the study was to evaluate whether the Wizards of Motion Cardiovascular Module was effective in changing students’ knowledge and attitudes related to cardiovascular disease and to adopting healthy lifestyle behaviours. Methods A Knowledge Test was developed based on concepts of cardiovascular disease. As part of the pilot work, the instrument went through several phases of testing in order to establish validity. A second instrument, with established measures of validity and reliability, was selected to evaluate the students’ attitudes about those lifestyle behaviours which are related to either preventing or perpetuating the development of the cardiovascular disease condition. The study was set up in a two group pre-post comparison design. Seventy students from four Grade 5 Northwestern Ontario classrooms participated in the main study. Thirty nine students participated in the intervention group, while thirty one students comprised the control group. Students who were part of the intervention group completed pre- Knowledge Test and Attitudes Questionnaires before and after the intervention phase. The students who were part of the control group completed the same Knowledge Test and Attitudes Questionnaire during the same time frame. Results The data from the Knowledge Test, and the Attitudes Questionnaire, although analyzed separately were evaluated using a five step process which began with the computation of descriptive statistics to show means and standard deviations between groups and across tests. Main effects of grouping and the interaction across grouping levels were next evaluated using a two way mixed factor ANOVA, with post hoc Scheffe test. A test of the equality of variances across all levels of the independent variables was tested using the Fmax test, while the Welch-Satterthwaite t-approximation was used to compare the pre to post test difference scores between the intervention and control groups, respecting the inequality of variance and unequal sample sizes between groups. Finally, the effect size was computed for all possible pairwise comparisons using the Common Language effect size estimator of McGraw and Wong (1992). The results indicate that the intervention group showed a statistically significant (p<0.01) increase on post-test scores on both the Knowledge Test and Attitudes Questionnaire compared to the control group. Although this main finding was shown in the initial ANOVA, it was also supported in the t-test and measures of effect size. Conclusion The positive findings from the Wizards of Motion Cardiovascular intervention show that the Module was effective in increasing the sample of students’ level of knowledge about cardiovascular disease and changing their attitudes towards adopting healthy lifestyle behaviours in order to prevent the development of cardiovascular disease. These findings support previous research which has emphasized the importance of health education for young students. The success o f increasing grade 5 student’s knowledge and attitudes related to cardiovascular disease and adopting healthy lifestyle behaviours illustrates that a program such as the Wizards of Motion is a valuable education tool in order to assist in health promotion within elementary schools. Educating children at a young age about the risks of cardiovascular disease and ways in which they can prevent the disease is becoming increasingly important with today’s youth. The school and home environment must foster these lifestyle changes in order to sustain a positive state of health for all students. Causing students to change their knowledge and attitudes are two crucial steps needed in order to promote healthy heart campaigns.