Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy


Background: Childhood obesity is a growing health concern, negatively impacting a child’s quality of life, and ability to engage in daily occupations; while contributing to rising healthcare costs. This Capstone Project is a community based program encouraging the development of gross motor skills in the four year old population of a local childcare center to promote engagement in physical activity for less engagement in sedentary daily activities.

Purpose: Although many causal factors have been linked to childhood obesity, current review of the literature demonstrating effective interventions to decrease obesity in the pediatric population is limited, and there is a scarcity of research in the occupational therapy literature addressing obesity prevention and health promotion. This Capstone Project seeks to identify: 1) perceived change in physical activity or movement for a population after participation in physical activity/gross motor programming, 2) local resources for continued engagement in movement activities by children and their families.

Theoretical Framework: Health Belief Model and the Model of Human Occupation

Methods: Descriptive Programs Outcomes Approach

Results. According to the program outcomes survey, most parents reported engaging in more movement activities together, being more comfortable engaging in movement activities with their child, and increased comfort in accessing resources in the community to engage in physical activity. Most parents indicated the program provided new opportunities for family-centered movement activities, and their child was more active after participating in the program.

Conclusions: This Capstone Project demonstrated the opportunity provided through community based programming to collaborate with other professions; and relative ease of incorporating gross motor skill development through movement to promote increased physical activity in a classroom curriculum. Parents responded positively to participation in the program promoting movement/physical activity. This provides implications for potential interventions among other preschool populations in the community setting, as well as other educational settings with collaboration from occupational therapists and educators.

Faculty Mentor

Shirley P. O'Brien

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Colleen M. Schneck

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Leslie J. Hardman

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)