Effects of a Health Promotion Program on Elementary Students’ Physical and Mental Health


Many health promotion programs have been implemented to prevent obesity and mental health problems among school-aged children. However, only a few programs included both physical and psychological measures to assess the effects of the program. The present study was designed to test the effects of a 6-week health promotion program on physical and mental health among school-aged children using physiological and psychological measures. A total of 74 elementary school students (4th and 5th grade) recruited from urban (n = 51) and rural areas (n = 23) participated in the study. We used the Korean version of the Kovacs’ Children’s Depression Inventory and the Conners-Wells’ Adolescent Self-Report Scale-Short Form (CASS-S) to measure levels of depression and hyperactivity, respectively. To assess children’s physical health, we measured body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, and heart rate variability. In addition, children’s health-related behaviors (e.g., eating and exercise habits) were assessed using the health promotion behavior scale. A total of 63 students (13 in the experimental and 50 in the control group) who completed both physiological and psychological measures were included in the final analysis. Compared to children in the control group, children in the experimental group showed a significant decrease in their level of hyperactivity (t = -2.01, p = 0.049) and increase in heart rate variability (t = -2.35, p = 0.022). No significant group differences were noted for depression, BMI, body fat percentage, and health promotion behaviors between the two groups. Findings of this study provided preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of a 6-week school-based health promotion program for improving emotional health among school-aged children living in a rural area. Future studies testing the effects of health promotion programs with longer sessions and programs focusing on social-emotional skill development are needed.

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Lee, I. , Bang, K. , Kim, S. , Choi, H. and Hwang, I. (2015) Effects of a Health Promotion Program on Elementary Students’ Physical and Mental Health. Open Journal of Nursing, 5, 805-812. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2015.59085.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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