Physical Activity and Physical Fitness in Children Schooled at Home and in Public Schools

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Gregory J. Welk
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Jodee A. Schaben
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Mack Shelley
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Homeschooling is increasingly popular, but little is known about how homeschooling affects physical activity patterns or fitness levels. This study compares patterns of physical fitness, physical activity, and psychosocial correlates of physical activity in homeschooled youth and youth attending public school. Fitness levels were obtained using the PACER aerobic fitness test, physical activity levels were assessed with 3 days of accelerometry, and psychosocial correlates were assessed with the Children’s Physical Activity Correlates scale. There were no significant main effects for fitness comparisons, but significant age and gender interactions indicate that variability exists within these samples for fitness. No school type effects were evident for the physical activity measures or the psychosocial correlate measures, but trends in the data suggest the possibility of age-related interactions for the psychosocial measures. Additional research on possible differences between homeschooled youth and youth attending public school is needed to better understand these trends.

Welk is with the Dept of Health and Human Performance, Iowa State University, 235 Forker Bldg., Ames, IA 50011

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