The scourge of childhood obesity in Mississippi threatens to undermine progress made in other national health goals espoused by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Community-based youth sport activities, and specifically soccer, may lower Body Mass Index (BMI) and have the potential to provide the vigorous physical activity preventive and intervention indicated by studies to date, especially given the explosive growth o f the sport in the US recently among females. After gaining approval from the Starkville School Board, access to FitnessGram data of all 4^^ grade students at a public school was obtained and data revealed 57 female students meeting CDC criteria for overweight. A nutrition intervention (i.e., a minimum core intervention) was developed based on the USDA’s “Tips for Families” from the revised 2005 food pyramid information, and a pre-post intervention quiz was developed, pre-tested on two cohorts o f age and gendermatched 4^^ and 5*^ grade female soccer players, and found to have face and construct validity. Twenty-two subjects were recruited in the summer o f 2006, and after following consent procedures approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Mississippi University for Women, were all given the pre-post quiz before and after application of minimum core baseline nutrition intervention. Subjects were then randomly assigned to youth soccer (n = 14), or waiting list control (n = 8). Independent Student’s t-tests revealed no significant group differences in height, weight, BMI, or age prior to intervention. Paired samples Student’s t-tests revealed significant gains in nutrition knowledge after application o f the minimum core baseline nutrition intervention, that lasted to the end of the study 5-months later {p < 0.002). There were no significant changes in BMI between soccer and control groups, and paired correlations between nutrition quiz pre-post tests and BMI prepost tests failed to demonstrate an association between gains in nutrition knowledge and reductions in BMI (r = -.185; p < 0.462). However, exploratory statistics including Stem and Leaf Plots identified two outliers in the soccer group that, when removed, revealed a mean change in BMI o f 0.74 between soccer and control groups (i.e., -.35 BMI soccer players; + .40 BMI controls). Findings o f the pilot study suggest that the work should be repeated in larger cohorts in other venues to verify and expand upon these findings. The study also provides a novel example of how community based intervention programs involving youth sport may benefit children with overweight.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Joyce Yates

Second Advisor

Mark Bean

Third Advisor

Willard Peveler

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons