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In October 2011 Step Success were commissioned to deliver an educational wellness programme to students at a primary school in Hertfordshire. Working with Hertsmere Leisure, Step Success delivered a six-week activity and wellness programme to thirty 10- and 11-year-olds.
The main aim of the programme was to increase the activity levels of students over the six weeks.
Other programme aims included:
The first step for us was to establish a baseline of activity for each student, followed by embedding the wellness programme into the students’ daily lives, educating them on health, activity, exercise and how to make small changes to daily routines to increase overall activity levels.
As with all our programmes, we used our custom-build application to create an activity group for the students, each being given an individual account which they could access from school or home. Each student was also issued with one of our activity tracking devices, the ActiPed+. This is an all-day activity monitor that tracks steps, distance, calories burned and activity time. It automatically offloads this data to the Step Success website where individuals can track and share progress, challenge themselves and others, and set goals.
After the baseline data had been collected Step Success returned to the school and delivered a presentation to the students, showing them the online application, their individual accounts and all the activity data collected so far. The students were shown how to download activity data from their ActiPed+ and how the application worked. Step Success then revealed to the class that the programme would be integrated with their current term project, which was all about Gambia. Students were then told that they would be trying to walk from their school in Hertfordshire to Gambia, a total distance of 2,760 miles. This would mean each student needed to cover an average of 2.1 miles per day. The baseline data showed each student had covered an average of 2.12 miles per day, making the goal challenging but achievable.
Each student was set up with a personal challenge to collect over 5,000 steps per day, which equates to 2.1 – 2.5 miles per day depending on the type of exercise. They were able to build and customise their own profile page, with each page then being displayed on a group leader board where students could view each other’s results. This helped to drive healthy competition and increase activity levels.
During the next five weeks Step Success visited the school three times to speak with the students, launch new challenges, update them on their progress and answer any questions which had arisen. Each time Step Success visited the school the students’ activity levels increased as a result of launching new challenges and releasing new elements of the application.
All thirty students engaged with the programme; some were more active than others, which was recognised early in the programme. Having identified the less active students Step Success put extra measures in place to help them increase their activity levels. Some of the parents also got involved by helping their children take part in more activity or encouraging them to go for a walk instead of playing on the computer or watching television.
At the end of the programme Step Success delivered an awards ceremony where each student was presented with a certificate showing their individual activity results including Steps Taken, Calories Burnt, Distance Covered and Activity Time. Certificates were also given to the three teachers who took part in the programme (teachers’ data was not included in the final results). The awards ceremony was held during an assembly where the whole school were able to see the presentations. Step Success then revealed the total distance travelled by the class and whether they had reached Gambia or not.
Key outcomes from the six-week programme included
During the relatively short life of the programme Step Success was able to educate the students, enabling them to identify why exercise is important and how they could increase this a little each day. Students also learnt to pay more attention to the calories they consumed and, perhaps more importantly, how they could burn off those calories.
The programme delivered some fantastic results and has produced accurate real-time activity data which demonstrates the benefits of educational wellness programmes for students, teachers, parents and the NHS.
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