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Darla M. Castelli, Charles H. Hillman, Sarah M. Buck and Heather E. Erwin

The relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement has received much attention owing to the increasing prevalence of children who are overweight and unfit, as well as the inescapable pressure on schools to produce students who meet academic standards. This study examined 259 public school students in third and fifth grades and found that field tests of physical fitness were positively related to academic achievement. Specifically, aerobic capacity was positively associated with achievement, whereas BMI was inversely related. Associations were demonstrated in total academic achievement, mathematics achievement, and reading achievement, thus suggesting that aspects of physical fitness may be globally related to academic performance in preadolescents. The findings are discussed with regards to maximizing school performance and the implications for educational policies.

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Heather E. Erwin, Amelia Mays Woods, Martha K. Woods and Darla M. Castelli

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Heather E. Erwin, Megan Babkes Stellino, Michael W. Beets, Aaron Beighle and Christine E. Johnson

Obesity levels among American children are increasing at an alarming rate, due in part to a lack of regular physical activity (PA). Physical education (PE) is one way to facilitate student PA. The overarching PA goal for physical educators is 50% PA for students. Self-determination theory suggests that PA levels in PE and a variety of other contexts depend upon individuals’ motivation levels. The purpose of this study was to determine whether autonomy and lesson type related to children’s self-determination for, and actual, PA in elementary PE. Children from four elementary schools in the southern US engaged in four different PE lessons, representing variations in teaching conditions associated with student groupings and level of task choice. Students completed a motivation scale and wore pedometers and accelerometers. Results showed no situational motivation differences, but PA differences by lesson type existed. A number of plausible explanations are presented.

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Michael William Beets, Charles F. Morgan, Jorge A. Banda, Daniel Bornstein, Won Byun, Jonathan Mitchell, Lance Munselle, Laura Rooney, Aaron Beighle and Heather Erwin

Background:

Pedometer step-frequency thresholds (120 steps·min-1, SPM) corresponding to moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) have been proposed for youth. Pedometers now have internal mechanisms to record time spent at or above a user-specified SPM. If pedometers provide comparable MVPA (P-MVPA) estimates to those from accelerometry, this would have broad application for research and the general public. The purpose of this study was to examine the convergent validity of P-MVPA to accelerometer-MVPA for youth.

Methods:

Youth (N = 149, average 8.6 years, range 5 to 14 years, 60 girls) wore an accelerometer (5-sec epochs) and a pedometer for an average of 5.7 ± 0.8 hours·day-1. The following accelerometer cutpoints were used to compare P-MVPA: Treuth (TR), Mattocks (MT), Evenson (EV), Puyau (PU), and Freedson (FR) child equation. Comparisons between MVPA estimates were performed using Bland-Altman plots and paired t tests.

Results:

Overall, P-MVPA was 24.6 min ± 16.7 vs. TR 25.2 min ± 16.2, MT 18.8 min ± 13.3, EV 36.9 min ± 21.0, PU 22.7 min ± 15.1, and FR 50.4 min ± 25.5. Age-specific comparisons indicated for 10 to 14 year-olds MT, PU, and TR were not significantly different from P-MVPA; for the younger children (5−8 year- olds) P-MVPA consistently underestimated MVPA.

Conclusions:

Pedometer-determined MVPA provided comparable estimates of MVPA for older children (10−14 year-olds). Additional work is required to establish age appropriate SPM thresholds for younger children.