Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Exercise Science in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. Pate is an exercise physiologist with interests in physical activity and physical fitness in children and the health implications of physical activity. He has published more than 350 scholarly papers and has authored or edited eight books. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Heart Association, and several private foundations and corporations. He heads a research team that is currently supported by multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health and from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He served on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (2003-04), the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee (2007-08), and an Institute of Medicine panel that developed guidelines on prevention of childhood obesity. He currently serves as Chair of the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance, and is a member of the 2017-2018 U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee.
Questions and Answers
What aspects of the program can be adapted without it losing its effectiveness? Are there specific audiences (beyond those included in the research study) that you feel this program could be adapted for? Any that it shouldn’t be adapted for?
SHAPES was developed in real-world settings, and it was designed to be adaptable to local preferences, resources and limitations. This adaptive approach works well because the SHAPES components, Move Inside, Move Outside, and Move to Learn , are guided by broad goals for providing enjoyable physical activity opportunities during the preschool day. Centers can achieve these goals in a flexible manner. This makes it possible for many diverse settings to implement SHAPES in a way that works for them, guided by the principles of SHAPES. Teachers are encouraged to be creative in identifying ideas for carrying out SHAPES in their classrooms. Therefore, SHAPES can be adapted by any creative teacher or assistant in a setting that serves young children.
What do you view as the facilitators to implementation? What might be some challenges?
Full participation in the on-line training program provides teachers and other staff with the skills needed to carry out SHAPES. Teachers who are open to integrating SHAPES into the daily routine, who enjoy engaging with children, and who are willing to try new ideas in the classroom will find SHAPES to be a fun way to enhance the classroom environment. Because of SHAPES’ adaptive nature, teachers who see “barriers” as “challenges” to work through will be successful in carrying out SHAPES. Teachers will also find that having other teachers to share ideas about SHAPES, both successes and challenges, will facilitate carrying it out. Another important facilitator is the tangible support of the center/school head administrator. Conversely, teachers who do not participate fully in the on-line training system, who do not buy into the importance of physical activity for young children, who are unwilling or unable to integrate brief physical activity opportunities into the school day, and/or who do not have the support of the head administrator or supervisor will find SHAPES implementation challenging.
Do you have suggestions for questions that practitioners should include when they evaluate the adaptation/implementation of your program? Do you have specific evaluation tools that would be appropriate for practitioners when they evaluate this program?
Part of the SHAPES on-line training program addresses the practice of teachers monitoring their classroom practices as they work toward achieving SHAPES goals. In addition to the monitoring tools provided as part of the SHAPES training, teachers and other staff can use the following questions to evaluate SHAPES and their experience with the SHAPES online program: • To what extent do you feel prepared to carry out the SHAPES program? • How would you rate the support you received from the SHAPES intervention team? • How would you rate the support you received from your center’s administration? • How worthwhile do you feel the SHAPES program is for your classroom? • Which elements of the SHAPES program do you find most beneficial? Why? • Which elements of the SHAPES program do you find least beneficial? Why?
What is your current research focused on?
Our research team is completing a prospective observational study of physical activity in children as they transition from elementary to high school. This study is considering a comprehensive set of factors that may influence developmental trajectories for physical activity. We are launching a new study on family childcare homes, and that investigation will focus on nutrition and physical activity practices in that setting. Also, we plan to initiate a study that will follow children during early childhood to determine how their physical activity levels change during the first three years of life.