Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Roger R. Ries


The purpose of this study was to explore the psychological impact of a health promotion program on fourth and fifth grade students. Other research has demonstrated that this same program was associated with physiological improvements in elementary children, and this investigation explored whether students experienced positive changes in attitude and awareness which may suggest that improved behaviors will be sustained over time.;Two schools in rural Virginia were sites for this study. In each school one fourth grade and one fifth grade class was randomly assigned to the treatment program, and one fourth and one fifth grade class were control groups. The American Heart Association's Heart Power program, a 16-lesson curriculum, was substituted for the standard health curriculum for four weeks, and presented by the classroom teachers. Measures of weight concerns, dietary self-efficacy, exercise awareness, body-concept and self-concept were given before and after the treatment, and then again three weeks later.;It was hypothesized that students participating in the Heart Power program would experience improvements in (1) awareness of the importance of exercise to health, (2) belief that they could make healthy food choices, (3) self-esteem and body-concept, and (4) a decrease in weight concerns.;The results were statistically significant for three of the five measures: exercise awareness, dietary self-efficacy and body-concept. There were not statistically significant differences in measured weight concerns and overall self-concept. Further research is needed to confirm the apparent effectiveness of this program in promoting positive changes in children and to determine which aspects of the program are most effective.



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