An evaluation of Seven Oaks School Division SO Healthy SO Active (SASH) pilot project

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Omolola, Daniel
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Children who engage in an active living and healthy eating programs early in life through their schools have been found to have a higher chance of living healthy later in life. Studies have shown that children are spending more hours per day in activities that restrict active movements resulting in them burning lesser calories than they normally consume daily. Schools are known as environments where learning takes place and children can be taught the importance of active living and healthy eating and be given feedback in the process. The goals of the thesis were twofold: to evaluate the Seven Oaks School Division SO Healthy SO Active (SASH) two-year pilot program based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and to analyze and critique the program theory of change underlying the SASH program and similar programs. The study used a utilization-focused evaluation approach that included the input on main decisions of a SASH committee representing program stakeholders. Four schools from the Seven Oaks School Division participated in the pilot program. They also participated in the data collection process. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected. Twenty-two staff members from the four schools took part in semi-structured interviews. As well, 348 parents/caregivers and 741 students from the four schools completed a survey. The findings suggested that the SASH program was successfully implemented in the four schools with some minor variations in their approach. Also, the program appears to be having some positive impact in the lives of the children and facilitating an environment across schools that supports active living and healthy eating. Overall, the theory of change was clear to stakeholders. Staff understood the value of encouraging active living and healthy eating early in life and that it could lead to positive health outcomes, including the notion that their own active participation would encourage children. The program’s set up and the activities were congruent with the theory of change.
Evaluation, Active living, Healthy eating, Pilot Project, Schools