Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sclinda Janssen


Child; Health Promotion; Obesity -- diet therapy


The purpose of this scholarly project was to develop an interdisciplinary after-school program for fifth graders living in low socioeconomic neighborhoods. This program entitled Let’s Move, Cook, and Learn With Friends! is intended to reduce obesity through promoting healthy habits in children by increasing physical activity, consumption of healthy food, and positive interactions with peers. Childhood obesity is a worldwide epidemic that can result in lifelong health problems if not treated proactively (Vizcaino et al., 2008). Therefore, the goal of this scholarly project is to raise their knowledge about obesity and decrease the risk factors for childhood obesity.

A literature review was conducted by the authors of this scholarly project to examine the problem of childhood obesity and obtain research about other after-school programs regarding what has worked and what has not worked at reducing childhood obesity. Researchers supported the need for this interdisciplinary after school program for children living in low socioeconomic neighborhoods. These children are at a higher risk of obesity than their peers. The researchers also provided evidence of effective health promotion strategies that was used to design Let’s Move, Cook, and Learn With Friends!.

An after-school program manual was developed through multiple theoretical frameworks including pedagogy, self-efficacy theory, person-environment-occupation [PEO] model and Cole’s Seven Steps (Bastable & Dart, 2011; Cole, 2012; Law, Cooper, Strong, Stewart, Rigby, and Letts, 1996). This product has a strong focus on increasing children's self-efficacy through their engagement in meaningful occupations. This manual includes an introduction section with background information for the program coordinator, three separate booklets for each session area addressed (i.e. physical activity, nutrition, and well-being) and a parent handout for implementing healthy habits into the home environment. Let’s Move, Cook, and Learn with Friends! program is intended to run 30-weeks, with three 90-minute sessions each week.

This after-school program will provide professionals and children with knowledge about physical activity, healthy eating and implementing positive interactions with peers at school. It is unique to existing after-school program as it is interdisciplinary and focuses on children from low socioeconomic neighborhoods, while coordinated by an occupational therapist, who is trained in group process and occupation-based activities.