Date of Scholarly Project Submission


Degree Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



Faculty Chairperson

Lisa Flood

Second Committee Member

Katie Menard

Third Committee Member

Anne Stein


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity has risen at an alarming rate and has reached epidemic proportions throughout the world (WHO, 2017). In the U. S., approximately 93.3 million U.S. adults are obese with an overall prevalence of 39.8 %. Chronic pain is another public health issue in the U.S, affecting almost 100 million people and is associated with significant annual healthcare costs and lost productivity (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health [NCCIH], 2017). Exercise is considered one of the most effective prevention strategies for reducing obesity and has been documented to decrease chronic pain. The purpose of this Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project was to determine if the WATERinMOTION aquatics exercise program was effective in promoting weight loss, decreasing percent body fat, and reducing chronic low back or joint pain. These aquatic programs were offered at two rural Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) sites. A pre/post-test, quasi-experimental design with a convenience sample (N = 11) was utilized. Participants completed a four or five-week aquatics exercise class which met twice a week. Pre/post-anthropometric measures (weight, percent body fat, and body mass index) and pre/post self-reported pain measurements were obtained using the numerical pain scale and survey questions about pain medication use. Upon analysis, statistically significant differences were observed in body weight (p = .005) and body mass index (p = .003) between the pre and post measurements. However, no significant differences were found in percent body fat (p = .113) or pain (p = .112). Despite, the classes being offered only twice a week for four or five weeks and use of a small sample size, participants in the WATERinMOTION aquatics exercise program did demonstrate some positive weight loss benefits.