Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Physical Therapy (Medicine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Neva J. Kirk-Sanchez

Second Committee Member

Kathryn E. Roach

Third Committee Member

James G. Moore

Fourth Committee Member

Tracie L. Miller


The feasibility and outcomes of a 12-week extracurricular family-based intervention led by physical therapists that was designed to increase physical activity (PA) in three Hispanic male middle-school children was examined. This intervention has limited feasibility and may increase physical activity levels for overweight Hispanic middle school children. In a second study, differences in motor proficiency, strength, endurance, and PA among healthy weight, overweight and obese children were examined, and correlations between BMI and physical impairments were explored. Obese children demonstrated impairments in motor proficiency, strength, and endurance when compared to healthy weight children. Among overweight children, higher BMI was associated with more physical impairments. Overweight children were less physically active than healthy weight children. A high proportion of children were not meeting daily step recommendations to maintain a healthy weight. Girls were less active than boys at this crucial stage of development. The findings of this study have important clinical relevance for physical therapists, who are uniquely qualified to assess these identified impairments and activity limitations that may limit a child’s ability to engage in greater levels of physical activity. This information lends support to the role of the physical therapist in addressing current public health recommendations related to the childhood obesity.


childhood obesity; BMI; physical activity; motor proficiency; Hispanic; impairments