Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Kinesiology and Sport Sciences (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Arlette Perry

Second Committee Member

Joseph Signorile

Third Committee Member

Kevin Jacobs

Fourth Committee Member

Brian Arwari

Fifth Committee Member

Soyeon Ahn


Many intervention and prevention programs targeting physical activity and fitness in children and adolescents have been effective, however, few have targeted changes in physical fitness, health-related variables, and cognitive executive function in a single study. The purpose of this study was to compare the Translational Health in Nutrition and Kinesiology (THINK), a comprehensive wellness based after-school program, to a traditional YMCA after-school program on measures of physical fitness, health-related variables, and executive cognitive function in a group of 102 elementary school, minority children (mean age= 9.2 years) following a 10-week intervention period. This study was based on a quasi-experimental nonequivalent control group design. A series of two way mixed design ANOVA analyses were used to predict effects on physical fitness, health-related, and executive cognitive function measures by time and group. When a significant main effect was found, Sidak pairwise comparisons were performed to establish where differences were found. Significant interactions were found for all physical fitness (p<0.01) and health-related (p<0.01) variables. The THINK group showed improvements in all physical fitness (p<0.01) and health-related (p<0.01) variables post-testing, while the traditional YMCA group showed either no change or significant decreases. Furthermore, a significant interaction was found for average reaction time (p<0.01) with the THINK group showing significant increases (p<0.01) while the traditional YMCA evidenced no improvements post-testing. Although no statistically significant interactions were observed for percent accuracy (p=0.15), the THINK group evidenced significant improvements (p<0.01) while the traditional YMCA showed no changes post-testing. Our findings showed that a comprehensive after-school program, THINK, was more effective in improving physical fitness, health-related, and executive cognitive variables compared to a traditional YMCA program. This lends support for establishing programs with a comprehensive approach to improve outcomes that may have positive effects on physical fitness, health, and academic performance in children.


pediatric; fitness; cognition; intervention