Longitudinal Perspectives on Children’s Physical Activity Patterns: “Do Physical Education–Related Factors Matter?”

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: This study examined longitudinal associations of motor competence (MC) and physical activity (PA) enjoyment with moderate to vigorous PA and sedentary behavior among boys and girls aged 10–12 years old. In addition, this study explored the predictive strength of satisfaction of basic psychological needs in physical education (PE) and PA enjoyment. Methods: At 3 time points (baseline, +1 y, and +2 y), PA levels, MC, PA enjoyment, satisfaction of basic psychological needs in PE and height and weight of 371 children were measured. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures linear mixed model analyses stratified for gender and adjusted for relevant covariates. Results: Sedentary behavior decreased over time and was significantly predicted by PA enjoyment in boys and by PA enjoyment and MC in girls. Boys’ moderate to vigorous PA decreased over time and was predicted by MC, whereas girls’ moderate to vigorous PA remained low, yet stable over time and was predicted by PA enjoyment and MC. Furthermore, children’s need for competence and teacher relatedness (girls only) during PE significantly predicted PA enjoyment. Conclusions: Children need sufficient and well-designed opportunities to improve their MC and PA enjoyment. PE may be pivotal in advancing PA enjoyment, indicating that PE could have more beneficial effects on PA levels in children, especially in girls.

Adank, Van Kann, Remmers, and Vos are with the School of Sport Studies, Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Eindhoven, HZ, The Netherlands. Adank and Vos are also with the Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, MB, The Netherlands. Van Kann and Kremers are with the Department of Health Promotion, Nutrition and Translational Research Institute Maastricht (NUTRIM), Maastricht University, Maastricht, MD, The Netherlands.

Adank (a.adank@fontys.nl) is corresponding author.
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