A recent study, published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, has determined that using mini-grants to fund community-based interventions may be an effective way to improve physical activity among youth. The investigative team led by Dr. Justin Moore (University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health) and colleague Ms. Mary Bea Kolbe (North Carolina Division of Public Health) collaborated on the project with funding from the Active Living Research program of the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. “The purpose of the project was to determine if a long-standing program of providing mini-grants to communities would be effective in changing behavior,” says Dr. Moore, an assistant professor in South Carolina’s department of health promotion, education, and behavior and co-lead author on the study.
The team invited community organizations, led by local health departments, to apply for the mini-grants to fund local interventions focused on physical activity promotion in youth. Using state and federal funding, the North Carolina Division of Public Health awarded grants to 20 counties. The evaluation team, led by project coordinator Ms. Sara Morris, monitored the implementation of the projects and evaluated the impact of the funding on physical activity levels in the target population. They found that the interventions funded by these mini-grants were effective in modestly increasing physical activity levels of the youth residing in the county (approximately two minutes per child per day).