Girls’ Physical Activity during High School Physical Education: Influences of Body Composition and Cardiorespiratory Fitness

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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This study assessed the physical activity levels of 20 high school girls (age 13 years, SD = 1.1) during physical education classes, over an 8-month period. Physical activity was measured by heart rate telemetry and accelerometry. Skinfold measurements were used to estimate percent body fat, and peak VO2 was assessed by maximal treadmill running. Girls engaged in moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) for 38.5% of class time and produced 961.8 vector magnitude (Vmag) counts · min−1. Body fat was inversely correlated with Vmag counts · min−1 (r = −.65, p < .01) and peak VO2 (r = −.65, p < .01). Girls’ MVPA in physical education did not meet the Healthy People 2010 50% of class time criterion. Body fat significantly predicted 42% of the variance in Vmag counts · min−1. Cardiorespiratory fitness appeared not to influence physical activity during physical education, regardless of measurement method. Girls’ physical activity in physical education may be improved if schools advocate planned lesson outcomes that aim to maximize opportunities for physical activity.

S.J. Fairclough is with the REACH (Research into Exercise, Activity and Children’s Health) Group and Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK L17 6BD.

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