Research Projects

SPARK Research and Special Projects

SPARK Programs have been chosen by many universities and prominent organizations to meet the goals of their research studies and/or projects.

Project SPARK (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids): Funded by NIH-NHLBI (National Institutes of Health and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) 1989-1996. Nationally funded study of the development and implementation of a health-related physical education and behavior change program for elementary schools (14 schools, 2 districts) (See Publications page for SPARK articles.) University affiliations: San Diego State University, San Diego Study locations: Encinitas and Poway, CA Principal investigators/Key Staff: Dr. Jim Sallis, Co-P.I. Dr. Thom McKenzie, Head Teacher, Paul Rosengard, BJ Williston (1 year), Kecia Carrasco

Project M-SPAN (Middle School Physical Activity and Nutrition): Funded by NIH-NHLBI, 1996-2000. Benchmark study (24 schools, 9 districts) designed to increase physical activity opportunities throughout the school day, increase MVPA in PE classes, and decrease the consumption of fat on middle school campuses. (See Publications page for M-SPAN articles.) University affiliation: San Diego State University Study location: San Diego, Oceanside, La Mesa, El Cajon, Poway, and Vista CA Principal investigators/Key Staff: Dr. Jim Sallis, Co-P.I. Dr. Thom McKenzie, Director Physical Education/Activity Intervention Paul Rosengard, Bruce Bettey, Kathy Stumm

OPI (Obesity Prevention Initiative): Funded by San Diego County Board of Supervisors, California Obesity Prevention Initiative (COPI), Department of Health Services, and the Centers for Disease Control, with in-kind provided by CA 5 a Day Power Play, Project LEAN, American Cancer Society, San Diego Unified School District, 2003-2004. Intervention involving 40 elementary schools providing a comprehensive school health approach including physical education, nutrition education, and smoking awareness. University affiliation: San Diego State University Study location: San Diego, CA Project leaders: Paul Rosengard, Dr. Thom McKenzie Project co-coordinators: Kathy Stumm, Julie Frank

Power Play: Funded by the Assisi Foundation, 1994-1996. Project focusing on physical activity for after school programs using 13 church site programs for intervention. University affiliation: University of Tennessee, Memphis, San Diego State University Study location: Memphis, TN Principal investigator: Dr. Bob Garrison Key staff: Dr. Phyllis Richey, Patty Kimbrell, Paul Rosengard

Project BOLT (Building Opportunities for Leisure Time): Funded by CANFit (CA Adolescent Nutrition and Fitness) 1996-1998. Project targeted low-income youth of color ages 10-14 in after school programs. University affiliation: San Diego State University Study location: Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Diego CA Principal investigator: Paul Rosengard Key staff: Kathy Stumm, Bruce Bettey, Jaime Strelow

Health Champions: Funded by the CA Pacific Medical Center, (1998-2003). Physical education, nutrition, and gardening interventions in two urban K-8 schools. University affiliation: University of CA, San Francisco, San Diego State University Study location: San Francisco, CA Principal investigator: Dr. Sherry Sherman Key staff: Courtney Sjoerdsma, Paul Rosengard

Gender Equity and Sports Project: Funded by IBM through Work Family Directions, Boston, MA. Designed to increase PA opportunities for girls in after school and sports programs. Integrated gender equity concepts and methods with SPARK Active Recreation program. University affiliation: San Diego State University Study locations: Endicott, NY; Southbury, CT; Burlington, VT; Atlanta, GA; San Jose, CA; Raleigh, NC; Boulder, CO Key staff: Barbara Colombo Adams, Paul Rosengard, Melissa Fletcher, Courtney Sjoerdsma

TAAG (Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls): Funded by NHLBI, 2000-2006. Six site national study examining ways to provide more physical activity opportunities for girls of middle school age. Hoping to reserve the downward activity trend that begins at this age and continues through adulthood. University affiliations: San Diego State University, University of Arizona, University of Minnesota, Tulane University, University of South Carolina, University of North Carolina. Study locations: Baltimore, MD; Raleigh, NC; Tucson, AZ; New Orleans, LA; Minneapolis, MN; San Diego, CA Principal investigator: Dr. John Elder (in San Diego) Key staff: Dr. Thom McKenzie, Dr. Jim Sallis, BJ Williston, Paul Rosengard (1st two years)

CA Department of Health and Human Services, CA Nutrition Network, 5 a Day, Power Play!: Funded by the California Nutrition Network, 2001-2003. SPARK writers and staff collaborated to integrate physical activity into the 5 a Day Power Play School and Community Kits. Conducted six workshops in various locations in CA. Key staff: Julie Frank, Paul Rosengard, Courtney Sjoerdsma, BJ Williston

Early Childhood Project: Funded by Assisi Foundation, 2001-2003. Developed, implemented, and evaluated a physical activity program targeting 3-5 year olds. University affiliations: University of Tennessee, Memphis, San Diego State University Study location: Memphis, TN Principal investigator: Dr. Phyllis Richey, Patty Kimbrell

Middle School Physical Education and Self-Management Project: Funded by private foundation in Alabama, 1994-1995. Brought SPARK PE and Self-Management programs to an impoverished area in Alabama. University affiliation: University of Alabama, Birmingham, San Diego State University Study location: Rural, central Alabama Key staff: Paul Rosengard, Melissa Fletcher

OPprA (Obesity Prevention in Pre-Adolescents): Funded by NHLBI, 1996-2001. Development of a social cognitive theory-based, 3-year multiple-component intervention (classroom curricula, school lunch, physical education, family education, and treatment) for primary and secondary prevention of obesity among children, and evaluation in a 13-school randomized controlled trial, with an additional one-year follow-up (N~1000 children) University affiliation: Stanford University School of Medicine Study location: Santa Clara, CA Principal investigator: Thomas N. Robinson, MD, MPH Key staff: Paul Rosengard

PEACH (Parents and Educators Advancing Children's Health): Funded by NCI, 1997-2002. To develop and evaluate a cancer risk factor reduction program, including both behavioral and environmental components, for preadolescents in schools serving predominately low-income, Latino families. The targeted outcomes are adiposity, dietary fat intake, fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, and smoking. Evaluation of effectiveness in a randomized controlled trial in 16 elementary schools (N~1200) University affiliation: Stanford University School of Medicine Study location: San Jose, CA Principal investigator/Key Staff: Joel D. Killen, PhD, Paul Rosengard

Pathways: Funded by NHLBI, 1994-2000. Provided modified SPARK curricula and staff development for a national study targeting Native American elementary school children on numerous reservations in 4 geographical locations. Over 20 schools participating in various aspects of the project. University affiliations: University of New Mexico, University of Arizona, Johns Hopkins, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina Study locations: Navajo, Hopi, Pima, Apache, Lakota reservations; Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota Principal Investigator/Key staff: Dr. Tim Lohman (U. of AZ), Paul Rosengard

Aventuras Para Ninos: Funded by NIH-NHLBI, 2002-2007. Study of obesity prevention in Latino communities. Provided SPARK K-2 curricula and staff development for teachers of grades k-3; 12 elementary schools. Principal investigator/Key Staff: Dr. John Elder, Dr. Thom McKenzie

California Fit WIC (Fit WIC-Active Play for Families): Funded by USDA Food Stamp Nutrition Education program, 2002-2004. Fit WIC is a five state grant to increase physical activity within WIC clinics and to empower WIC staff to educate WIC families for the need of physical activity at all ages. Study location: 12 cities in California Principal investigator: Pat Crawford Program manager: Margaret Strode Key staff: Patty Kimbrell

Navajo Nation WIC Program: Funding: USDA, 2003-2004. Navajo Nation WIC received a grant from the USDA to increase physical activity knowledge and awareness for WIC families. Location: Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico Program manager: Doris McGuire, MS, RD, LD Key staff: Patty Kimbrell

San Benito County UC Cooperative Extension (Start Early for Healthy Children): Funding: Prop 10, 2002-2004. Start Early provided physical activity for preschool teachers and day care providers, nutrition classes and parent classes for San Benito County. Primary goals were to increase physical activity awareness and healthy eating. Study location: San Benito County, CA Program manager: Laura Reed Key staff: Patty Kimbrell

Fun 5 Hawaii: Funding: HMSA (Hawaii Medical Services Association). Fun 5 evaluated the SPARK After School Program and its evaluation. SOFIT data showed significant increases the frequency and duration of physical activity in after school settings, and increases in students' moderate to vigorous activity levels.

Study location: Hawaiian Islands

Program Managers: Steven Lorick and Paula Adams

Principal Investigator and Key Staff: Dr. Claudio Nigg (Univ. of Hawaii), Steven Lorick (Executive Director, Kahoomiki, Joan Gillem, Courtney Sjoerdsma, Paul Rosengard, Julie Green

POPI (Pittsburgh Obesity Prevention Initiative): Funding: Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Grable Foundation. POPI was a 4-year study that attempted to improve PE content and instructional practice in 7 urban, high schools.

Study Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Project Managers: Michelle Matthews, Julie Frank, BJ Williston

Principal Investigators/Key Staff: Paul Rosengard, Dr. Robbie Ali, Sarah Jameela Martin, Larry Higgins, Paige Metz

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SPARK is an extremely innovative curriculum that allows children to enjoy physical education an all ways! It allows all children to participate in in fun activities that in turn allow students to...

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