Children’s Physical Activity Choices: A Developmental Analysis of Gender, Intensity Levels, and Time

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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Students’ (n = 1,041) physical activity choices were assessed during the fourth and sixth grades for weekdays, weekends, and summer vacations. Activities were summarized for boys and girls by intensity, individual versus team, and for selected classes. Boys performed more team activities and reported more overall physical activity. Boys and girls decreased their participation in individual physical activities. Students decreased in total energy expended for all time periods. Decreasing activity level and selection of fewer individual activities make lifetime exercise unlikely. Results suggest that children become less active than recommended for health promotion before completing elementary school.

M.F. Hovell is the Director of the Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health in the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182. J.F. Sallis is with the Department of Psychology at San Diego State University. B. Kolody is with Department of Sociology at San Diego State University. T.L. McKenzie is with the Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University.

Pediatric Exercise Science
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