Presenter: Sofiya Alhassan, PhD, FACSM
Affiliation: University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Webinar Description: Preschool-age children from low socioeconomic environments tend to have low physical activity levels. In the US, approximately 61% of preschool-age children spend most of their day in non-parental childcare settings such as preschool centers, making this an ideal setting to intervene on their physical activity levels. A significant proportion of physical activity interventions targeting preschool centers have been stand-alone programs and have been implemented by trained external staff, which is not a viable model. For a physical activity program to be viable and sustainable, the program must be integrated into the preschool day and implemented by preschool teachers. This presentation will describe the characteristics of successful preschool-based physical activity interventions. The majority of the presentation will focus on lessons learned from implementing teacher-led physical activity interventions in preschool-age children from low socioeconomic environments.
Dr. Sofiya Alhassan is an Associate Professor in the Kinesiology Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the Director of the Pediatric Physical Activity Laboratory. Her research focuses on implementing physical activity interventions for the prevention of obesity and the improvement of cognitive outcomes in underserved pediatric populations. Her research agenda also includes examining 1) physical activity policy-based intervention in low socioeconomic preschool-age children; 2) environmental influences on various health behaviors in children of color, and 3) after-school family-based intervention to improve physiological, psychosocial, and academic performance of pre-adolescent children of color. Dr. Alhassan’s research in preschool-age children has been funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and her research in pre-adolescent children has been funded by NIH.