Using Video Direct Observation to Assess Children’s Physical Activity During Recess

in Pediatric Exercise Science
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD  $68.00

1 year subscription

USD  $90.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD  $129.00

2 year subscription

USD  $168.00

Purpose: Traditional direct observation cannot provide continuous, individual-level physical activity (PA) data throughout recess. This study piloted video direct observation to characterize children’s recess PA overall and by sex and weight status. Methods: Children (N = 23; 11 boys; 6 overweight; third to fifth grade) were recorded during 2 recess periods, coding for PA duration, intensity, location, and type. Duration of PA type and intensity across sex and weight status overall and between/within locations were assessed using 1- and 2-way analysis of variances. Results: The field elicited more sedentary behavior (39% of time) and light PA (17%) and less moderate to vigorous PA (41%) compared with the fixed equipment (13%, 7%, and 71%, respectively) or the court (21%, 7%, and 68%, respectively). Boys engaged in significantly more vigorous-intensity activity on the court (35%) than girls (14%), whereas girls engaged in more moderate to vigorous PA on the fixed equipment (77% vs 61%) and field (46% vs 35%) than boys (all Ps > .05). PA type also differed by sex and weight status. Conclusion: Video direct observation was capable of detecting and characterizing children’s entire recess PA while providing valuable context to the behavior. The authors confirmed previous findings that PA intensity was not uniform by schoolyard location and further differences exist by sex and weight status.

Howe is with Exercise Physiology, School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness, Ohio University, Athens, OH. Clevenger is with the Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Plow is with Media Arts & Studies, Scripps College of Communications, Ohio University, Athens, OH. Porter is with Voinovich School, Ohio University, Athens, OH. Sinha is with the Department of Geography, College of Arts & Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, OH.

Howe (Howec@ohio.edu) is corresponding author.
  • 1.

    Bailey RC, Olson J, Pepper SL, Porszasz J, Barstow TJ, Cooper DM. The level and tempo of children’s physical activities: an observational study. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995;27(7):1033–41. PubMed ID: 7564970 doi:10.1249/00005768-199507000-00012

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Black IE, Menzel NN, Bungum TJ. The relationship among playground areas and physical activity levels in children. J Pediatr Health Care. 2015;29(2):156–68. PubMed ID: 25454386 doi:10.1016/j.pedhc.2014.10.001

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Broekhuizen K, Scholten AM, de Vries SI. The value of (pre)school playgrounds for children’s physical activity level: a systematic review. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2014;11:59. PubMed ID: 24885611 doi:10.1186/1479-5868-11-59

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Brown WH, Pfeiffer KA, McIver KL, Dowda M, Addy CL, Pate RR. Social and environmental factors associated with preschoolers’ nonsedentary physical activity. Child Dev. 2009;80(1):45–58. PubMed ID: 19236392 doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01245.x

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Cosco NG, Moore RC, Islam MZ. Behavior mapping: a method for linking preschool physical activity and outdoor design. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010;42(3):513–9. PubMed ID: 20068497 doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181cea27a

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    Crum JF, Eckert HM. Play patterns of primary school children. In: Clark J, Humphrey J, eds. Motor development: current selected research, vol 1. New York: AMS; 1985.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Dyment JE, Bell AC, Lucas AJ. The relationship between school ground design and intensity of physical activity. Child Geogr. 2009;7(3):261–76. doi:10.1080/14733280903024423

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Farley TA, Meriwether RA, Baker ET, Rice JC, Webber LS. Where do the children play? The influence of playground equipment on physical activity of children in free play. J Phys Act Health. 2008;5(2):319–31. PubMed ID: 18382040 doi:10.1123/jpah.5.2.319

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Fjørtoft I, Kristoffersen B, Sageie J. Children in schoolyards: tracking movement patterns and physical activity in schoolyards using global positioning system and heart rate monitoring. Landsc Urban Plan. 2009;93:210–7. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2009.07.008

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Fjørtoft I, Löfman O, Halvorsen Thorén K. Schoolyard physical activity in 14-year-old adolescents assessed by mobile GPS and heart rate monitoring analysed by GIS. Scand J Public Health. 2010;38(5 suppl):28–37. doi:10.1177/1403494810384909

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Gutin B. Child obesity can be reduced with vigorous activity rather than restriction of energy intake. Obesity. 2008;16(10):2193–6. PubMed ID: 18719647 doi:10.1038/oby.2008.348

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Haug E, Torsheim T, Sallis JF, Samdal TL. The characteristics of the outdoor school environment associated with physical activity. Health Educ Res. 2010;25(2):248–56. PubMed ID: 18936270 doi:10.1093/her/cyn050

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    Janssen I, Leblanc AG. Systematic review of the health benefits of physical activity and fitness in school-aged children and youth. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2010;7:40. PubMed ID: 20459784 doi:10.1186/1479-5868-7-40

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Kuczmarski RJ, Ogden CL, Grummer-Strawn LM, et al. CDC growth charts: United States. Adv Data. 2000;(314):1–27. PubMed ID: 11183293

  • 15.

    Lounsbery MA, McKenzie TL, Morrow JR Jr, Monnat SM, Holt KA. District and school physical education policies: implications for physical education and recess time. Ann Behav Med. 2013;45(suppl 1):131–41. doi:10.1007/s12160-012-9427-9

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    McIver KL, Brown WH, Pfeiffer KA, Dowda M, Pate RR. Development and testing of the observational system for recording physical activity in children: elementary school. Res Q Exerc Sport. 2016;87(1):101–9. PubMed ID: 26889587 doi:10.1080/02701367.2015.1125994

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    McKenzie TL, Marshall SJ, Sallis JF, Conway TL. Leisure-time physical activity in school environments: an observational study using SOPLAY. Prev Med. 2000;30(1):70–77. PubMed ID: 10642462 doi:10.1006/pmed.1999.0591

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    McKenzie TL, Sallis JF, Elder JP, et al. Physical activity levels and prompts in young children at recess: a two-year study of a bi-ethnic sample. Res Q Exerc Sport. 1997;68(3):195–202. PubMed ID: 9294873 doi:10.1080/02701367.1997.10607998

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    Mota J, Silva P, Santos MP, Ribeiro JC, Oliveira J, Duarte JA. Physical activity and school recess time: differences between the sexes and the relationship between children’s playground physical activity and habitual physical activity. J Sports Sci. 2005;23(3):269–75. PubMed ID: 15966345 doi:10.1080/02640410410001730124

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Nettlefold L, McKay HA, Warburton DE, McGuire KA, Bredin SS, Naylor PJ. The challenge of low physical activity during the school day: at recess, lunch and in physical education. Br J Sports Med. 2011;45(10):813–9. PubMed ID: 20215489 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2009.068072

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    Oliver M, Schofield GM, Kolt GS. Physical activity in preschoolers: understanding prevalence and measurement issues. Sports Med. 2007;37(12):1045–70. PubMed ID: 18027993 doi:10.2165/00007256-200737120-00004

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    Pawlowski CS, Andersen HB, Troelsen J, Schipperijn J. Children’s physical activity behavior during school recess: a pilot study using GPS, accelerometer, participant observation, and go-along interview. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(2):e0148786. PubMed ID: 26859288 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148786

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 23.

    Ridgers ND, Fairclough SJ, Stratton G. Variables associated with children’s physical activity levels during recess: the A-CLASS project. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2010;7:74. PubMed ID: 20937142 doi:10.1186/1479-5868-7-74

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 24.

    Ridgers ND, Saint-Maurice PF, Welk G, Siahpush M, Huberty JL. Non-overweight and overweight children’s physical activity during school recess. Health Educ J. 2014;73(2):129–36. doi:10.1177/0017896912471032

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 25.

    Ridgers ND, Salmon J, Parrish AM, Stanley RM, Okely AD. Physical activity during school recess: a systematic review. Am J Prev Med. 2012;43(3):320–8. PubMed ID: 22898126 doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2012.05.019

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 26.

    Ridgers ND, Stratton G, Fairclough SJ. Assessing physical activity during recess using accelerometry. Prev Med. 2005;41(1):102–7. PubMed ID: 15917000 doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.10.023

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 27.

    Ridgers ND, Stratton G, Fairclough SJ. Physical activity levels of children during school playtime. Sports Med. 2006;36(4):359–71. PubMed ID: 16573359 doi:10.2165/00007256-200636040-00005

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 28.

    Ridley K, Ainsworth BE, Olds TS. Development of a compendium of energy expenditures for youth. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2008;5:45. PubMed ID: 18782458 doi:10.1186/1479-5868-5-45

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 29.

    Saint-Maurice PF, Welk GJ, Silva P, Siahpush M, Huberty J. Assessing children’s physical activity behaviors at recess: a multi-method approach. Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2011;23(4):585–99. PubMed ID: 22109782 doi:10.1123/pes.23.4.585

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 30.

    Sallis JF, Conway TL, Prochaska JJ, McKenzie TL, Marshall SJ, Brown M. The association of school environments with youth physical activity. Am J Public Health. 2001;91(4):618–20. PubMed ID: 11291375 doi:10.2105/AJPH.91.4.618

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 31.

    Sallis JF, Prochaska JJ, Taylor WC. A review of correlates of physical activity of children and adolescents. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000;32(5):963–75. PubMed ID: 10795788 doi:10.1097/00005768-200005000-00014

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 32.

    Sarkin JA, McKenzie TL, Sallis JF. Gender differences in physical activity during fifth-grade physical education class. J Teach Phys Educ. 1997;17:99–106. doi:10.1123/jtpe.17.1.99

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 33.

    Sirard JR, Pate RR. Physical activity assessment in children and adolescents. Sports Med. 2001;31(6):439–54. PubMed ID: 11394563 doi:10.2165/00007256-200131060-00004

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 34.

    Stratton G, Ridgers ND, Fairclough SJ, Richardson DJ. Physical activity levels of normal-weight and overweight girls and boys during primary school recess. Obesity. 2007;15(6):1513–9. doi:10.1038/oby.2007.179

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 35.

    Taylor MJ, McCormick D, Shawis T, Impson R, Griffin M. Activity-promoting gaming systems in exercise and rehabilitation. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2011;48(10):1171–86. PubMed ID: 22234662 doi:10.1682/JRRD.2010.09.0171

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 36.

    Trost SG, Ward DS, Senso M. Effects of child care policy and environment on physical activity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010;42(3):520–5. PubMed ID: 20068496 doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181cea3ef

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 37.

    Zabinski MF, Saelens BE, Stein RI, Hayden-Wade HA, Wilfley DE. Overweight children’s barriers to and support for physical activity. Obes Res. 2003;11(2):238–46. PubMed ID: 12582220 doi:10.1038/oby.2003.37

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 110 110 14
Full Text Views 2 2 1
PDF Downloads 1 1 0