- Associated Press - Monday, December 4, 2017

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) - Middle Tennessee State University is launching a pilot project to enhance children’s after-school physical activity.

An MTSU news release says the SPARK program will focus on children in nine elementary schools in Sullivan, Meigs, Benton and Hickman counties.

MTSU says the SPARK program has been around since 1989 and provides schools with a curriculum, on-site teacher training, follow-up support and equipment. Students from fifth through 12th grade will participate, with some participation by fourth graders.

The Tennessee Department of Health’s Division of Family Health and Wellness is providing funding.

MTSU researchers are interested in how the program affects participants’ academic performance, ability to focus in the classroom, absenteeism, body mass index, attitudes toward physical activity by children and parents and family engagement around physical activity.

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