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Hyeonho Yu, Pamela H. Kulinna, and Shannon C. Mulhearn

Background: Environmental provisions can boost students’ discretionary participation in physical activity (PA) during lunchtime at school. This study investigated the effectiveness of providing PA equipment as an environmental intervention on middle school students’ PA levels and stakeholders’ perceptions of the effectiveness of equipment provisions during school lunch recess. Methods: A baseline–intervention research design was used in this study with a first baseline phase followed by an intervention phase (ie, equipment provision phase). A total of 514 students at 2 middle schools (school 1 and school 2) in a rural area of the western United States were observed directly using the System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth instrument. Interviews were conducted with stakeholders. Paired-sample t tests and visual analysis were conducted to explore differences in PA levels by gender, and common comparison (with trustworthiness measures) was used with the interview data. Results: The overall percentage of moderate to vigorous PA levels was increased in both schools (ranging from 8.0% to 24.0%). In school 2, there was a significant difference in seventh- and eighth-grade students’ moderate to vigorous PA levels from the baseline. Three major themes were identified: (1) unmotivated, (2) unequipped, and (3) unquestionable changes (with students becoming more active). Conclusions: Environmental supports (access, equipment, and supervision) significantly and positively influenced middle school students’ lunchtime PA levels.

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Pamela H. Kulinna, Charles B. Corbin, and Hyeonho Yu

Background: Previous research findings from Project Active Teen demonstrated the effectiveness of high school conceptual physical education (CPE) in promoting active lifestyles. Method: This study followed Project Active Teen participants 20 years after graduation from high school and 24 years after taking a CPE class. Physical activity behaviors were assessed using the same procedures as previous Project Active Teen studies. Activity patterns were compared with patterns while in high school and shortly after high school graduation. Activity patterns were also compared with a national sample of age-equivalent adults. Results: Twenty years after high school graduation, former CPE students were less likely to be inactive and more likely to be moderately active than when in high school and were less likely to be inactive and more likely to be moderately active than national sample age-equivalent peers. They were typically not more vigorously physically active than comparison groups. Conclusion: Results support the long-term effectiveness of CPE in reducing inactive behavior and promoting moderate physical activity later in life.

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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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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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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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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.