Young Children’s Intuitive Interest in Physical Activity: Personal, School, and Home Factors

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

A physically active or inactive lifestyle begins with intuitive interest at a very young age. This study examined the impact of selected personal, school, and home variables on young children’s intuitive interests in physical and sedentary activities.

Methods:

National data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (US Department of Education) were examined using Cohen’s d, hierarchical log-linear analyses, and logistic regression.

Results:

Children’s interest in physical activity is accounted for fractionally by personal variables, but substantially by school and home variables including number of physical education classes per week, teacher experiences of teaching PE, and neighborhood safety.

Conclusion:

School and home environment variables have stronger impact than personal variables on children’s intuitive interest in physical activity. Future interventions should focus on strengthening school physical education and providing a safe home environment to help nurture young children’s intuitive interest in physical activity.

Chen is with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Maryland – College Park, College Park, MD 20742. Zhu is with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801.

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