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  1. Moore, Justin B. PhD, MS, FACSM
  2. Brinkley, Jason PhD
  3. Morris, Sara F. MAT, MPH, RD
  4. Oniffrey, Theresa M. MPH
  5. Kolbe, Mary Bea MPH, RD


Objective: To determine the effectiveness of targeted grant funding for the implementation of multilevel community interventions to increase moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and decrease time spent sedentary among a large sample of youth in North Carolina.


Design: A repeated, cross-sectional, group-randomized controlled trial design with a delayed treatment group.


Setting: Twenty counties in North Carolina.


Participants: Analyses were conducted on 2138 youth, grades 4 to 8, who provided complete data across the 3 waves.


Intervention: The North Carolina Eat Smart, Move More Community Grants program consisted of 20 separate community interventions implemented by grantees that targeted increasing physical activity and/or decreasing sedentary time in youth. County grantees were pair-matched and randomized to receive funding for implementation in year 1 (2010-2011) or year 2 (2011-2012). MVPA/sedentary time was assessed via accelerometer with demographics assessed via self-report in 3 waves of data collection (fall 2010, 2011, and 2012).


Main Outcome Measure: MVPA and sedentary time measured via accelerometry.


Results: After adjusting for covariates, there was no difference in MVPA between counties implementing in year 1 (2010-2011) and those implementing in year 2 (2011-2012; ie, waitlist controls) comparing data collection wave 1 to wave 2 (fall 2010-2011). A significant increase of 2.32 minutes per day of MVPA was observed following the implementation year across all counties as compared with the baseline year. Differences were largely driven by increased MVPA in elementary school youth (fourth and fifth grades). No significant changes in sedentary time were observed.


Conclusions: Low-cost, high-reach mini-grants can have a small, but meaningful effect on children's MVPA, with greater effects seen in younger children. Future studies should examine characteristics of mini-grants projects that are associated with the greatest increases in MVPA among youth.