Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


In recent years, surveys conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note an alarming trend in both American adults and children. The number of overweight and obese people in the United States has increased drastically. Since children spend a majority of their time in school, it can be argued that educational efforts to improve understanding of this issue and promote healthier choices should be implemented. This thesis project studied the effects of a morning exercise program for overweight and obese children and its impact on their academic ability and motivation. The literature review section explored the obesity epidemic, its potential cause and effect on society, connections between brain activity and physical exercise, and the potential benefit to exercise programs for overweight and obese children. By analyzing the school's morning exercise program for overweight children, the researcher hoped to discover whether an in-school exercise program impacts weight loss and improves energy levels, and whether morning exercise is perceived by teachers as beneficial to students' levels of focus in the classes following the exercise program. This study took place in an urban school district over eight weeks. There were ten students and ten teachers in the sample group. Observation of exercise sessions, teacher and student surveys, and informal interviews composed the data collection. Conclusions drawn from the research show little correlation between exercise and academic engagement or increased ability.


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