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Lifestyle Design for Children's Physical, Nutritional, Social and Spiritual Fitness

Grant Winners

  • Elysa Roberts, Ph.D. – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Sheama Krishnagiri, Ph.D. – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Cyril Blavo, D.O. – College of Osteopathic Medicine


  • Richard Davis – College of Health Care Sciences


Award Winners

The rise of overweight children and adolescents and resultant implications on quality of life and public health is alarming. The contributing factors to increased weight in children appear to be from the interrelationship between behaviors such as increased calorie consumption and decreased physical activity as well as detrimental factors from family, school and community environments. Programming to build children's abilities for optimal health habits and lifestyle changes must address behavioral and environmental factors leading to the problem. Occupational therapy is a health-promoting profession whose practitioners are skilled in helping individuals improve their health through participation in meaningful activities also known as occupations. Considering the problem of overweight children is largely a consequence of personal behaviors and environmental factors, occupational therapists are uniquely equipped to design and implement a program addressing person, environment and occupational domains in order to prevent and/or minimize the incidence of overweight in children. This project will utilize a contemporary occupational therapy intervention known as occupational lifestyle redesign, as the approach for a Fitness Explorers program with a group of 10 6-11 year old children and their families at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center (DPJCC). The Fitness Explorers is a dynamic 10-week program characterized by activities aimed at increasing knowledge of and habitual participation in occupations to enhance a child's physical, nutritional, social, and spiritual fitness. This pilot study will investigate the effectiveness of occupational lifestyle redesign on the health habits of typical 6-11 year olds. Based on the intentions of the DPJCC and the principles of occupational therapy, Fitness Explorers intends to: a) increase child and parent knowledge of physical, nutritional, social, and spiritual fitness-promoting habits, b) broaden the preferences for and participation in occupations that enhance physical, nutritional, social, and spiritual fitness, c) maintain or enhance the self concept of children and parents.

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