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A Qualitative Investigation of Australian Youth Perceptions to Enhance School Physical Activity: The Environmental Perceptions Investigation of Children’s Physical Activity (EPIC-PA) Study

Brendon Hyndman

Background:

There is more demand than ever for schools to equip children with the necessary skills to be physically active. The purpose of the Environmental Perceptions Investigation of Children’s Physical Activity (EPIC-PA) study was to investigate elementary and secondary school children’s perceptions to enhance the school physical activity environment.

Methods:

Four Australian government schools (2 elementary and 2 secondary) were recruited for the EPIC-PA study. During the study, 78 children were recruited aged 10 to 13 years. The focus group discussions consisted of 54 children (32 elementary and 22 secondary) and the map drawing sessions included 24 children (17 elementary and 7 secondary).

Results:

The findings from the EPIC-PA study revealed insight into uniquely desired features to encourage physical activity such as adventure physical activity facilities (eg, rock climbing walls), recreational physical activity facilities (eg, jumping pillows), physical activity excursions, animal activity programs and teacher-directed activities. In addition to specific features, childrens revealed a host of policies for equipment borrowing, access to sports equipment/areas, music during physical activity time and external physical education lessons.

Conclusions:

Understanding the multiple suggestions from children of features to enhance physical activity can be used by schools and researchers to create environments conducive to physical activity participation.

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Children’s Enjoyment of Play During School Lunchtime Breaks: An Examination of Intraday and Interday Reliability

Brendon P. Hyndman, Amanda C. Benson, Shahid Ullah, Caroline F. Finch, and Amanda Telford

Background:

Enjoyment and play during school lunchtime are correlated with children’s physical activity. Despite this, there is an absence of studies reporting children’s enjoyment of play during school lunchtime breaks. The purpose of this study was to examine the intraday and interday reliability of children’s enjoyment of school lunchtime play.

Methods:

Surveys used to assess children’s enjoyment of lunchtime play were distributed to and completed by 197 children (112 males, 85 females), aged 8–12 years attending an elementary school in Victoria, Australia. Children completed the surveys during class before lunch (expected enjoyment) and after lunch (actual enjoyment) for 5 days. The intra- and interday enjoyment of school lunchtime play reliability were determined using a weighted kappa.

Results:

Intraday kappa values ranged from fair (0.31) to substantial (0.75) within each of the 5 days (median kappa = 0.41). In comparison, “expected” (0.09–0.40; median 0.30) and “actual” (0.05–0.46; median 0.28) interday enjoyment of lunchtime play displayed low reliability.

Conclusions:

Children’s enjoyment of lunchtime play appears to be more consistent within days than across days. The findings suggest that assessment of children’s enjoyment of lunchtime play once on a single day would be representative of a particular day but not necessarily that particular school week.