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The Effect of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program on Physical Activity and Health-Related Fitness in Children From Low-Income Families

Timothy A. Brusseau, James Hannon, and Ryan Burns

Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) on physical activity and health-related fitness (HRF) in children from low-income families.

Methods:

Participants included 1390 children recruited from kindergarten through sixth grade (mean age = 8.4 ± 1.8 years). Physical activity measures were collected at baseline and at 6 weeks and 12 weeks after program implementation, and HRF measures were collected at baseline and at 12 weeks after program implementation.

Results:

There were significant but weak-to-moderate increases in step counts (mean difference = 603.1 steps, P < .001, d = 0.39) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (mean difference = 4.9 minutes, P < .001, d = 0.39) at 12 weeks compared with baseline. There were also significant but moderate increases in Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run laps (mean difference = 6.5 laps, P < .001, d = 0.47) at 12 weeks compared with baseline. Generalized mixed models respectively yielded 3.02 and 2.34 greater odds that a child would achieve step count and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity standards and 2.26 greater odds that a child would achieve aerobic fitness standards at 12 weeks compared with baseline (P < .001).

Conclusions:

The 12-week CSPAP improved physical activity and HRF in children from low-income families; however, the magnitude of the effects was weak to moderate.

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Effect of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program on School Day Step Counts in Children

Ryan D. Burns, Timothy A. Brusseau, and James C. Hannon

Background:

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programming (CSPAP) has the potential to increase physical activity (PA) in children over time. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of CSPAP on school day step counts in children.

Methods:

Participants were 327 fourth and fifth grade children recruited from 4 elementary schools. The study was conducted within an Interrupted Time-Series Design framework. School day step counts were collected for 5 days across preintervention and postintervention time-points (10 days total) using NL-1000 piezoelectric pedometers. Robust piecewise regression examined pre- and postintervention intercepts and slopes, and the change in these parameters using postestimation statistics.

Results:

The slope coefficient was statistically significant across preintervention (β = –105.23, P < .001) but not postintervention time-points (β = –63.23, P = .347), suggesting decreases in steps counts across preintervention and stability of step counts across postintervention school days. Postestimation statistics yielded increases in school day step counts from the end of preintervention (day 5) to the start of postintervention (day 6; t(319) = –4.72, P < .001, Cohen’s d = 4.72).

Conclusions:

The CSPAP intervention increased average school day step counts and attenuated decreases in step counts throughout the school week in children.

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Physical Activity Trajectories During Daily Middle School Physical Education

Ryan D. Burns, Timothy A. Brusseau, and James C. Hannon

Background:

Optimal levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) have been shown to improve health and academic outcomes in youth. Limited research has examined MVPA trajectories throughout a daily middle school physical education (PE) curriculum. The purpose of this study was to examine MVPA trajectories over a daily PE curriculum and the modifying effects of sex, body composition, and cardiorespiratory endurance.

Methods:

One hundred 7th- and 8th-grade students participated in daily PE lessons. There were 66 lessons throughout the semester. MVPA was monitored during each lesson using NL-1000 piezoelectric pedometers. Students were classified into FITNESSGRAM Healthy Fitness Zones using estimated VO2 Max and Body Mass Index (BMI). A population averaged generalized estimating equation was employed to examine MVPA trajectories.

Results:

On average, students’ MVPA decreased over time (β = –0.35, P < .001). Poor student VO2max classification significantly modified the trajectories (β = –0.14, P < .001), however poor BMI classification did not have a modifying effect (β = 0.03, P = .158).

Conclusions:

MVPA decreased in daily PE over time and cardiorespiratory endurance significantly modified the trajectories. The results support that extra efforts have to be made by teachers and students to sustain MVPA behaviors over a semester.

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Daily Physical Activity Patterns of Children Living in an American Indian Community

Timothy A. Brusseau, Pamela H. Kulinna, Catrine Tudor-Locke, and Matthew Ferry

Background:

Embracing a physically active lifestyle is especially important for American Indian (AI) children who are at a greater risk for hypokinetic diseases, particularly Type 2 diabetes. The purpose of this study was to describe AI children’s pedometer-determined physical activity (PA) segmented into prominent daily activity patterns.

Methods:

Participants included 5th- and 6th-grade children (N = 77) attending school from 1 Southwestern US AI community. Children wore a pedometer (Yamax Digiwalker SW-200) for 7 consecutive days.

Results:

Boys accumulated 12,621 (±5385) steps/weekday and girls accumulated 11,640 (±3695) steps/weekday of which 38% (4,779 ± 1271) and 35% (4,027 ± 1285) were accumulated at school for boys and girls, respectively. Physical education (PE) provided the single largest source of PA during school for both boys (25% or 3117 steps/day) and girls (23% or 2638 steps/day). Lunchtime recess provided 1612 (13%) and 1241 (11%) steps/day for boys and girls, respectively. Children were significantly less active on weekend days, accumulating 8066 ± 1959 (boys) and 6676 ± 1884 (girls).

Conclusions:

Although children accumulate a majority of their steps outside of school, this study highlights the important contribution of PE to the overall PA accumulation of children living in AI communities. Further, PA programming during the weekend appears to be important for this population.

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Effect of Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programming on Cardiometabolic Health Markers in Children From Low-Income Schools

Ryan D. Burns, Timothy A. Brusseau, and James C. Hannon

Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a 36-week Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) on cardiometabolic health markers in children from low-income schools.

Methods:

Participants were 217 school-aged children (mean age = 10.1 ± 1.1 years; 114 girls, 103 boys) recruited from 5 low-income elementary schools. Cardiometabolic health markers were collected in a fasted state at 2 time-points, before commencement of the CSPAP for classroom and school level clustering and the modifying effects of grade level and sex, there were statistically significant improvements in HDL cholesterol (Δ = 3.6 mg/dL, 95% CI: 1.4 mg/dL to 5.8 mg/dL, P = .039), triglycerides (Δ = –14.1 mg/dL, 95% CI: –21.4 mg/dL to –6.8 mg/dL, P = .022), and mean arterial pressure (Δ = –4.3 mmHg, 95% CI: –8.5 mmHg to –0.1 mmHg, P = .041) following the 36-week CSPAP intervention. Sixth-grade children showed decreases in LDL cholesterol (Δ = –15.3 mg/dL, 95% CI: –30.5 mg/dL to –0.1 mg/dL, P = .033).

Conclusions:

Improvements in specific cardiometabolic health markers were found following a 36-week CSPAP in children from low-income schools.

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Physical Activity and Sports Participation Associates With Cognitive Functioning and Academic Progression: An Analysis Using the Combined 2017–2018 National Survey of Children’s Health

Ryan D. Burns, Yang Bai, and Timothy A. Brusseau

Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the independent and joint associations between physical activity (PA) and sports participation on academic performance variables within a representative sample of children and adolescents. Methods: Data were analyzed from the combined 2017–2018 National Survey of Children’s Health. Household addresses were randomly selected within each US state. One household parent answered health and wellness questions pertaining to one randomly selected household child (N = 37,392; 48.1% female; 6- to 17-y old). Weighted logistic regression models were employed to examine the independent and joint associations between child PA frequency and sports participation with academic performance variables, adjusting for child- and family-level covariates. Results: Child PA frequency independently associated with 37% to 46% lower odds and child sports participation independently associated with 53% lower odds of reported difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions (P < .001). For children who participated in sports, PA associated with 47% to 56% lower odds of ever repeating a grade level (P = .01). Conclusions: Frequency of weekly PA and sports participation independently and negatively associated with difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions, whereas the negative association between PA and ever repeating a grade level differed by child sports participation status.

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Effect of the SPARK Program on Physical Activity, Cardiorespiratory Endurance, and Motivation in Middle-School Students

You Fu, Zan Gao, James C. Hannon, Ryan D. Burns, and Timothy A. Brusseau Jr.

Background:

This study aimed to examine the effect of a 9-week SPARK program on physical activity (PA), cardiorespiratory endurance (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run; PACER), and motivation in middle-school students.

Methods:

174 students attended baseline and posttests and change scores computed for each outcome. A MANOVA was employed to examine change score differences using follow-up ANOVA and Bonferroni post hoc tests.

Results:

MANOVA yielded a significant interaction for Grade × Gender × Group (Wilks’s Λ = 0.89, P < .001). ANOVA for PA revealed significant differences between SPARK grades 6 and 7 (Mean Δ = 8.11, P < .01) and Traditional grades 6 and 8 (Mean Δ = –6.96, P < .01). ANOVA also revealed greater PACER change for Traditional boys in grade 8 (P < .01) and SPARK girls in grade 8 (P < .01). There were significant interactions with perceived competence differences between SPARK grades 6 and 8 (Mean Δ = 0.38, P < .05), Enjoyment differences between SPARK grades 6 and 7 (Mean Δ = 0.67, P < .001), and SPARK grades 6 and 8 (Mean Δ = 0.81, P < .001).

Conclusions:

Following the intervention, SPARK displayed greater increases on PA and motivation measures in younger students compared with the Traditional program.

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Step Counts of 10- to 11-Year-Old Children by Ethnicity and Metropolitan Status

Tyler G. Johnson, Timothy A. Brusseau, Susan Vincent Graser, Paul W. Darst, and Pamela H. Kulinna

Background:

The purpose of this study was to conduct a secondary analysis by combining 2 pedometer data sets to describe and analyze pedometer-determined steps/day of children by ethnicity and metropolitan status.

Methods:

Participants were 582 children (309 girls, 273 boys; 53% Hispanic, 26% Caucasian, 21% African American) age 10 to 11 years (M = 10.37 ± 0.48) attending 1 of 10 schools located in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Participants wore a research grade pedometer for at least 3 week/school days. Mean steps/ day were analyzed by gender, ethnicity, and metropolitan status.

Results:

Statistical analyses indicated 1) boys (12,853 ± 3831; P < .001) obtained significantly more steps/day than girls (10,409 ± 3136); 2) African American (10,709 ± 3386; P < .05) children accumulated significantly less steps/day than Hispanic (11,845 ± 3901) and Caucasian (11,668 ± 3369) children; and 3) urban (10,856 ± 3706; P < .05) children obtained significantly less steps/day than suburban (12,297 ± 3616) and rural (11,934 ± 3374) children.

Conclusions:

Findings support self-report data demonstrating reduced physical activity among African American children and youth, especially girls, and among children and youth living in urban areas. Possible reasons for these discrepancies are explored.

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Step Counts of Non-White Minority Children and Youth by Gender, Grade Level, Race/Ethnicity, and Mode of School Transportation

Tyler G. Johnson, Timothy A. Brusseau, Paul W. Darst, Pamela H. Kulinna, and Janel White-Taylor

Background:

The purposes of this study were to describe and analyze the steps/d of nonwhite minority children and youth by gender, grade level, race/ethnicity, and mode of school transportation. A secondary purpose was to compare the steps/d of minority children and youth to their Caucasian grade-level counterparts.

Methods:

Participants were 547 minority youth grades 5 to 8 from 4 urban schools. Participants wore sealed pedometers for 6 consecutive week/school days. Three hundred and ten participants responded to a questionnaire concerning their mode of transportation to and from school.

Results:

Statistical analyses indicated a main effect for gender (F(3, 546) = 13.50, P < .001) with no interaction. Boys (12,589 ± 3921) accumulated significantly more steps/d than girls (9,539 ± 3,135). Further analyses also revealed a significant main effect for mode of school transportation (F(2, 309) = 15.97, P ≤ .001). Walkers (12,614 ± 4169) obtained significantly more steps/d than car (10,021 ± 2856) or bus (10,230 ± 3666) transit users.

Conclusions:

Minority boys obtain similar steps/d as their Caucasian grade-level counterparts; minority girls obtain less steps/d than their Caucasian grade-level counterparts. Minority youth who actively commute are more likely to meet PA recommendations than nonactive commuters.

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Pedometer-Determined Segmented Physical Activity Patterns of Fourth- and Fifth-Grade Children

Timothy A. Brusseau, Pamela H. Kulinna, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Matthew Ferry, Hans van der Mars, and Paul W. Darst

Background:

The need to understand where and how much physical activity (PA) children accumulate has become important in assisting the development, implementation, and evaluation of PA interventions. The purpose of this study was to describe the daily PA patterns of children during the segmented school-week.

Methods:

829 children participated by wearing pedometers (Yamax-Digiwalker SW-200) for 5 consecutive days. Students recorded their steps at arrival/departure from school, Physical Education (PE), recess, and lunchtime.

Results:

Boys took significantly more steps/day than girls during most PA opportunities; recess, t(440) = 8.80, P < .01; lunch, t(811) = 14.57, P < .01; outside of school, t(763) = 5.34, P < .01; school, t(811) = 10.61, P < .01; and total day, t(782) = 7.69, P < .01. Boys and girls accumulated a similar number of steps t(711) = 1.69, P = .09 during PE. For boys, lunchtime represented the largest single source of PA (13.4%) at school, followed by PE (12.7%) and recess (9.5%). For girls, PE was the largest (14.3%), followed by lunchtime (11.7%) and recess (8.3%).

Conclusion:

An understanding of the contributions of the in-school segments can serve as baseline measures for practitioners and researchers to use in school-based PA interventions.