XC runners get $10k for obesity research
Exercise science and psychology seniors will implement fitness program at area high schools
November 5, 2007 —
With obesity now a nationwide issue, two SVSU students are conducting research they hope will lead to a new outlook of physical fitness and exercise among today's youth.
Exercise science and psychology seniors Becca Rudey and Elayna Dush competed with other students to obtain a grant from the Student Research and Creativity Institute totaling $9,975. As cross country and track runners, Rudey and Dush are focusing their research on promoting physical fitness awareness at Francis Reh Academy, a K-8 school in inner-city Saginaw.
Rudey feels that the research will give her valuable experience for her future.
"It kind of mimics what we will be doing in graduate school," she said.
Rudey and Dush provided the teachers of the school with binders containing curriculum-based games, or "energizer activities," that give students an opportunity to learn and participate in physical activity. Each student was also given a pedometer that measures how many steps he or she takes at school or anywhere else for a period of time. The pedometers serve as a friendly competition within classes and between other classrooms.
The grant enabled Rudey and Dush to purchase new scales, blood pressure cuffs, body fat testing equipment, stability balls, resistance balls, and even incentives for children who excel in the program, such as SVSU football tickets. As part of the study, the students are assessed in the fall, winter, and spring. BMI, blood pressure, and percent fat are some of the measurements taken to monitor progress.
A shared interest in physical fitness and helping children motivated the two students to start the project.
"It's very interesting to me and it's been a big part of my life," Dush said.
Rudey and Dush both feel that obesity is a problem, not only at Francis Reh Academy, but on an epidemic level. They hope their research will change the way today's youth think about their bodies.
"We hope to get kids excited about being active and for them to realize how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle," Rudey said.
The children's excitement and enthusiasm is one testament to the program's effectiveness.
"They were really excited," Dush said. "They showed us their pedometers and they wanted to tell us about all the things they were doing."
Ultimately, the two hope that their research helps people.
"I love kids and I want to help them make a difference," Rudey said.