Throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley, West Virginia Prevention Research Center researchers and partners are collaborating with schools and families to increase physical activity among fifth graders.

Activate! is an intervention study that uses community health workers to increase activity in the home and school personnel to implement physical activity throughout the school day. The long-term goal for Activate! is to increase physical activity and improve the academic performance of fifth grade students.

"For our family, the best part of the program was having competitions to see who could meet their daily goal first," said an Activate! family participant. "When my daughter and I would both meet our goal, we would celebrate with a dance-off!"

As part of the Activate! program, families focus on increasing their physical activity outside of the school day. In order to achieve this goal, community health workers meet with families individually and host family fun nights at their schools. Each family creates a specific family action plan to follow during the intervention.

Fifth grade classroom teachers use "Brain Boosters" and integrated physical activity lessons to increase movement and stimulation during the school day. The teachers say the program is a great way to get kids up and active during their daily lessons.

 "I loved learning new Brain Boosters to share with my students," stated a teacher from Ashton Elementary. "All the materials are simple and inexpensive, and the students really have fun."

Drs. Nancy O’Hara Tompkins and Lesley Cottrell are the Principal Investigators of the project and hope to see a significant improvement in students’ physical activity and standardized test scores at the end of the Activate! intervention.

Activate! is in the second year of implementation and currently has 322 fifth grade students enrolled in the study. Activate! is implemented in the Mid-Ohio Valley region of the state and currently spans across 4 counties.

Activate! is the Applied Research Project of the West Virginia Prevention Research Center, which is housed inside the WVU School of Public Health. The Prevention Research Center at West Virginia University is a member of the Prevention Research Centers Program, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cooperative agreement number 1-U48-DP-005004.