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Background: Multiple models and frameworks exist for the measurement and classification of physical activity in adults that are applied broadly across populations but have limitations when applied to youth. The authors propose a conceptual framework specifically designed for classifying youth physical activity. Methods: The Youth Physical Activity Timing, How, and Setting (Y-PATHS) framework is a conceptualization of the when (timing), how, and where (setting) of children’s and adolescents’ physical activity patterns. The authors developed Y-PATHS using the design thinking process, which includes 3 stages: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. Results: The Y-PATHS includes 3 major components (timing, how, and setting) and 13 subcomponents. Timing subcomponents include (1) school days: in-school, (2) school days: out-of-school, and (3) nonschool days. How subcomponents include: (1) functional, (2) transportation, (3) organized, and (4) free play. Setting subcomponents include: (1) natural areas, (2) schools, (3) home, (4) recreational facilities, (5) shops and services, and (6) travel infrastructure. Conclusions: The Y-PATHS is a comprehensive classification framework that can help researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to better understand youth physical activity. Specifically, Y-PATHS can help to identify the domains of youth physical activity for surveillance and research and to inform the planning/evaluation of more comprehensive physical activity programming.

Szeszulski, Walker, Craig, and Robertson are with Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, Houston, TX, USA. Szeszulski, Lanza, Dooley, Johnson, Walker, Salvo, and Kohl are with Micheal & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, Austin, TX, USA. Dooley is also with the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA. Johnson is also with the Center for Child Health, Behavior, and Development, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, WA. Knell is with Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, Dallas, TX, USA; Center for Pediatric Population Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Dallas, TX, USA; and the Children’s Health Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Plano, TX, USA. Robertson is also with the Center for Energy Balance, Department of Behavioral Science, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Cancer Prevention Building, Houston, TX, USA. Salvo is also with the Prevention Research Center, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA. Kohl is also with Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.

Szeszulski (Jacob.Szeszulski@uth.tmc.edu) is corresponding author.
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