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  • Author: Thomas L. McKenzie x
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Nicole J. Smith, Monica A.F. Lounsbery and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

Physical education (PE) is recommended as a source for physical activity (PA) and learning generalizable PA skills. Few studies have objectively examined high school PE, specifically its delivery, including PA, lesson contexts, and class gender composition.

Methods:

We used the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) to assess PA during 6 lesson contexts in 47 boys-only, 54 girls-only, and 63 coed lessons from 7 high schools. MANOVA assessed differences based on class gender composition.

Results:

Actual lesson length was 27.7 min, only 65% of the scheduled length of class periods. Students engaged in moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA) 54% of the time, with boys being more active than girls. Game play was the most dominant context (47%), and little time was allocated to knowledge and skill development. Class size, lesson length, PA, and lesson contexts all differed by class gender composition (P < .001).

Conclusions:

Many differences in the conduct of high school PE are related to class gender composition. Boys accumulated more MVPA than girls. When held, PE lessons contributed about 25% of recommended daily PA minutes; improvements could be made by increasing allocations to fitness and skill practice and reducing transition and management time. Teacher professional development is warranted.

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Simon J. Marshall, Stuart J.H. Biddle, James F. Sallis, Thomas L. McKenzie and Terry L. Conway

Few studies have attempted to describe patterns of sedentary behavior among children and examine how these relate to patterns of physical activity. A group of 2,494 youth aged 11–15 years from the USA and UK completed a physical activity checklist. Low intercorrelations between sedentary behaviors suggest youth sedentariness is multifaceted and cannot be represented accurately by any one behavior such as TV viewing. Cluster analysis identified three groups of young people, differentiated by the level and type of sedentary behavior and physical activity. Physical activity and sedentary behavior are not two sides of the same coin. Further study should examine the health-related outcomes associated with sedentary behavior and the modifiable determinants of these behaviors among young people.

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Jennifer L. Huberty, Michael William Beets, Aaron Beighle and Thomas L. Mckenzie

Background:

Children’s achievement of recommendations for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in afterschool programs (ASP) is complex. It is unclear what elements of the ASP environment influence children’s physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship of staff behaviors and ASP features (eg, organized activity, recreational equipment) to MVPA participation in youth attending ASPs.

Methods:

Data were collected in 12 ASPs in the Midwest. Staff behavior and child PA was measured using the System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth. The percentage of children’s MVPA was examined in relation to staff behaviors and ASP features.

Results:

Increases in MVPA were observed when staff were directly engaged in PA, verbally promoted MVPA, and when PA was organized and equipment was present. When 3 or more of these characteristics were present, the proportion of children engaged in MVPA increased by 25%−30%. Conversely, MVPA levels decreased when these characteristics were absent and when staff were attending to other ASP duties or were supervising.

Conclusion:

This study provides evidence about the specific staff behaviors that may influence higher proportions of youth being active during ASP and implies specific skills that need to be incorporated into ASP staff training.

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Judith J. Prochaska, James F. Sallis, Donald J. Slymen and Thomas L. McKenzie

One mission of physical education (PE) is the promotion of enjoyable physical activity participation. PE enjoyment of 414 elementary school students (51% male, 77% Caucasian) was examined in a 3-year prospective study. Analyzed using Generalized Estimating Equations, PE enjoyment decreased significantly from the fourth to sixth grade (p < .001) and was lower among girls (p < .001) and students not in organized sports (p < .005). Ethnicity and body mass index were not significant predictors of PE enjoyment. Girls, older children, and those not on sports teams are especially dependent on PE as the setting for accruing health-related physical activity, and strategies are needed to enhance their PE enjoyment.

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Thomas L. McKenzie, John E. Alcaraz, James F. Sallis and F. Nell Faucette

We assessed effects of a physical education professional development program on 3 manipulative skills of 4th- and 5th-graders. Seven schools were randomly assigned to 3 treatment conditions: PES (Physical Education Specialists), TT (Trained Classroom Teachers), and CO (Controls). Students (358 boys, 351 girls) were randomly selected from 56 classes and tested on throwing, catching, and kicking. In the fall baseline, boys scored higher than girls; 5th-graders scored higher than 4th-graders. In the spring, children in PES schools had improvements of 21%; those in TT and CO schools gained 19% and 13%, respectively. Gain scores were significant for catching (p = .005) and throwing (p = .008). Intervention effects did not differ by gender or grade. Adjusting for condition, boys made significantly greater gains than girls. The results indicate that children’s manipulative skills can be improved by quality physical education programs delivered by PE specialists and classroom teachers with substantial training.

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Thomas L. McKenzie, Kathryn J. LaMaster, James F. Sallis and Simon J. Marshall

The relationship of classroom teachers’ leisure time physical activity and their conduct of physical education classes was investigated. Eighteen 4th- and 5th-grade teachers reported on their leisure physical activity and had their physical education classes observed systematically during 4 consecutive semesters. Correlational analyses confirmed that more active teachers taught physical education differently from those that were less active. Teachers who were more active provided students with increased physical fitness activities, and the teachers themselves spent more time promoting physical fitness during lessons. The study provides some support for the hypothesis that physically active teachers provide higher quality physical education.

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Thomas L. McKenzie, Deborah A. Cohen, Amber Sehgal, Stephanie Williamson and Daniela Golinelli

Background:

New tools are needed to examine physical activity and the contexts in which it occurs. Community parks contribute to physical activity, but measuring activity and associated variables in them is challenging because area contexts change and the numbers and characteristics of users are highly variable.

Methods:

We developed SOPARC (System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities) and tested its use by observing 16,244 individuals in 165 park areas. Reliabilities included 472 simultaneous measures by independent observers.

Results:

Correlations between observers on number of area participants was 0.99 for female and male park users. Reliabilities (i.e., percent agreement) for age (89%, females; 85%, males), race/ethnic (80%, females; 82%, males), and activity level (80%, females; 88%, males) groupings met acceptable criteria. Reliabilities for area contexts (i.e., usable, accessible, supervised, organized, equipped) exceeded 94%.

Conclusions:

SOPARC is a reliable and feasible instrument for assessing physical activity and associated contextual data in community settings.

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Melbourne F. Hovell, James F. Sallis, Bohdan Kolody and Thomas L. McKenzie

Students’ (n = 1,041) physical activity choices were assessed during the fourth and sixth grades for weekdays, weekends, and summer vacations. Activities were summarized for boys and girls by intensity, individual versus team, and for selected classes. Boys performed more team activities and reported more overall physical activity. Boys and girls decreased their participation in individual physical activities. Students decreased in total energy expended for all time periods. Decreasing activity level and selection of fewer individual activities make lifetime exercise unlikely. Results suggest that children become less active than recommended for health promotion before completing elementary school.

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Monica A.F. Lounsbery, Thomas L. McKenzie, Stewart Trost and Nicole J. Smith

Background:

Evidence-based physical education (EBPE) programs have increased physical activity (PA) by as much as 18%, yet widespread adoption has not occurred. Understanding school facilitators and barriers to PE should prove useful to EBPE dissemination efforts.

Methods:

Pairs of principals and PE teachers from 154 schools (75 Adopters and 79 Non-Adopters) from 34 states completed questionnaires. Differences between Adopter and Non-Adopter schools were tested using t tests or Wilcoxon Signed Rank Tests and chi-square analyses.

Results:

Principals and teachers reported distinct PE curriculum adoption decision making roles, but few viewed themselves as very involved in program evaluation. Teachers in Adopter schools were more satisfied with PE program outcomes and had greater involvement in teacher evaluation and program decision making. Compared with teachers, principals were generally more satisfied with their school’s PE program outcomes and did not share the same perceptions of PE barriers. However, principals also demonstrated a general lack of PE program familiarity.

Conclusions:

To facilitate EBPE adoption, dissemination efforts should target both principals and PE teachers. Increasing principal’s knowledge may be instrumental in addressing some teacher perceptions of barriers to PE. Strategic advocacy efforts, including targeting policies that require PE program evaluation, are needed.

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Cindy H.P. Sit, Jessica W.K. Lam and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

Interactive electronic games have recently been popularized and are believed to help promote children’s physical activity (PA). The purpose of the study was to examine preferences and PA levels during interactive and online electronic games among overweight and nonoverweight boys and girls.

Methods:

Using a modification of the SOFIT, we systematically observed 70 Hong Kong Chinese children (35 boys, 35 girls; 50 nonoverweight, 20 overweight), age 9 to 12 years, during 2 60-minute recreation sessions and recorded their game mode choices and PA levels. During Session One children could play either an interactive or an online electronic bowling game and during Session Two they could play an interactive or an online electronic running game.

Results:

Children chose to play the games during 94% of session time and split this time between interactive (52%) and online (48%) versions. They engaged in significantly more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during interactive games than their online electronic versions (70% vs. 2% of game time). Boys and nonoverweight children expended relatively more energy during the interactive games than girls and overweight children, respectively.

Conclusions:

New-generation interactive games can facilitate physical activity in children, and given the opportunity children may select them over sedentary versions.