In this study, daily step counts were recorded for 4 consecutive days in 129 four- and five-year-old children. To compare daily Yamax Digiwalker step counts with minutes of engagement in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), concurrent accelerometer data were collected in a random subsample (n = 76). The average daily step count was 9,980 (± 2,605). Step counts and MVPA minutes were strongly correlated (r = .73, p < .001). The daily step count of 13,874, equating to 1-hr MVPA engagement, was reached by 8% of the children. Daily step counts in preschool children give valid information on physical activity levels—daily step counts in preschoolers are low.
Greet Cardon and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
Greet Cardon and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
In this study pedometer counts were recorded for 6 consecutive days for 92 children (mean age = 9.6 years; range 6.5–12.7) and were compared with the number of minutes per day in which the participants engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Diaries filled out with the assistance of one of the children’s parents were used to determine minutes of MVPA. The average daily step count was significantly higher in boys than in girls, although the average daily MVPA engagement in minutes did not vary significantly between genders. Based on the regression equations, 60 min of MVPA was equivalent to 15,340 step counts in boys, 11,317 step counts in girls, and 13,130 step counts when results for both genders were combined. A moderate correlation (r = .39, p < .001) was found between pedometer step counts and reported minutes of MVPA. According to the present study findings, however, predictions and promotion of daily MVPA engagement in children based on pedometer counts per day should be made with caution.
Jan Seghers, Stijn De Baere, Maïté Verloigne, and Greet Cardon
Melinda Asztalos, Greet Cardon, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, and Katrien De Cocker
Sedentary behavior (including sitting) is negatively associated with physical health, independent from physical activity (PA). Knowledge on the associations with mental health is less elaborated. Therefore this study aims to investigate the relationship between sitting and 5 indices of mental health in adults (psychological distress, depression, anxiety, somatization, and sleeping problems), and between sitting interactions (sitting×gender, sitting×age, sitting×education, and sitting×PA) and these mental health indices.
A cohort of Belgian adults (25–64 years; n = 4344) provided self-reported data on sitting and PA and on 5 mental health indices. Cross-sectional associations were examined using multiple linear regression analyses.
Analyses adjusted for gender, age, education, and PA showed significant positive associations between sitting and the 5 mental health indices (P < .05). All associations were true for both men and women, and for low and high educated individuals, while some were only found in older individuals (somatization, P < .001) and those being insufficiently active (psychological distress, P = .007; depression, P = .002; and anxiety, P = .014).
More sitting seems to be associated with poorer mental health, independently of gender, age, education, and PA. Moderation analyses showed that these associations may differ according to age and PA levels.
Fabian Ducheyne, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Matthieu Lenoir, and Greet Cardon
This study examined the reliability of a newly developed child and parental questionnaire on specific determinants of cycling to school among 10–12 year olds. Validity of child reported distance, bicycle equipment and basic bicycle skills was also investigated. In total 211 children and 33 parents participated in this study. The reliability of the questionnaires was acceptable with results indicating reliability ranging from fair to perfect agreement. Therefore, the questionnaires appear to be reliable tools for assessing specific determinants of cycling to school. Furthermore, it was found that children overestimate their abilities to perform basic bicycle skills. This suggests that objectively measuring bicycle skills is preferred to child reported skills assessment.
An De Meester, Greet Cardon, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, and Leen Haerens
The goals were to investigate whether extracurricular school-based sports reach students not engaging in community sports and whether extracurricular school-based sports participants are more physically active and/or autonomously motivated toward sports than nonparticipants.
1526 students (48.0% boys; 85.9% Belgian natives; age = 15.34 ± 1.83y) completed validated questionnaires to assess sports participation, physical activity (PA) and sports-motivation. Multilevel regression analyses were conducted.
Only 28.7% of all students (n = 438), and 19.7% of students not engaging in community sports (n = 123), participated in extracurricular school-based sports. Participants were significantly more physically active [β=44.19, S.E.=17.34, χ2(1)=6.50, p = .01] and autonomously motivated [β=.18, S.E.=.04, χ2(1)=25.62, p < .001] than nonparticipants, even after controlling for community sports participation. Boys were more physically active and autonomously motivated than girls (p < .001).
As participation is linked to higher PA-levels and autonomous motivation, increasing overall participation rates may contribute to children developing a more physically active lifestyle and achieving the PA guidelines.
Greet Cardon, Stefanie Verstraete, Dirk De Clercq, and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
The main goal of the current study was to compare physical activity levels during swimming and nonswimming elementary physical education classes. We conducted a preliminary study and found that the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) could be used to register physical activity engagement levels in swimming classes. Thirty-nine classes, involving 8- to 12-year olds, participated in one swimming and one nonswimming physical education class. Classes were videotaped and physical activity levels for 234 students were quantified using SOFIT. Students engaged in more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during swimming classes than during nonswimming classes. As a consequence, we advocate the inclusion of swimming lessons in physical education. Because the average engagement in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was lower than the recommended 50% in 41% of swimming classes and in 77% of the nonswimming classes, however, comprehensive efforts are needed to increase physical activity levels during both types of elementary physical education classes.
Greet Maria Cardon, Leen Liesbeth Haerens, Stefanie Verstraete, and Ilse de Bourdeaudhuij
The present study aimed to investigate how classroom-based self-management lessons to promote physical activity were perceived by students, teachers, and parents. The self-management lessons were implemented by an external physical education specialist in 20 class groups at eight elementary schools. Program perceptions were evaluated in 412 children (mean age 9.7 ± 0.7) using a short questionnaire. Oral surveys were used with 20 teachers and 50 parent participants. Most children were enthusiastic about the program and more than half of them reported being more active. Teachers and parents also perceived the lessons as useful and half of them reported an improvement in children’s physical activity awareness. Eighty percent of the teachers and 32% of the parents perceived an increase in children’s physical activity levels. The SPARK self-management physical activity program appears to promote an active lifestyle in children and was positively received; the implementation of the program by the teachers needs further evaluation.
Lynn Van den Berghe, Greet Cardon, Nathalie Aelterman, Isabel Barbara Tallir, Maarten Vansteenkiste, and Leen Haerens
Burnout in teachers is related to different maladaptive outcomes. This study aimed at exploring the relationship between emotional exhaustion and motivation to teach in 93 physical education teachers. Results showed that teachers report more emotional exhaustion when they are less autonomously motivated, while the opposite relationship was found for controlled motivation. Next, four motivational profiles were identified by means of cluster analyses: (a) a relative controlled group, (b) a relative lowly motivated group, (c) a relative autonomous group, and (d) a relative highly motivated group. The controlled group reported most emotional exhaustion, whereas the relative autonomous and highly motivated group had the lowest scores on emotional exhaustion. The results indicate that being autonomously motivated may function as a “buffer” against the development of emotional exhaustion. This implicates that it is important for politicians, directors, teachers, and teacher educators to consider teachers’ type of motivation to teach to prevent emotional exhaustion.
Lynn Van den Berghe, Isabel B. Tallir, Greet Cardon, Nathalie Aelterman, and Leen Haerens
Starting from self-determination theory, we explored whether student engagement/disengagement relates to teachers’ need support and whether this relationship is moderated by teachers’ causality orientations. A sample of 2004 students situated in 127 classes taught by 33 physical education teachers participated in the study. Both teachers and students reported on students’ (dis)engagement, allowing investigation of the proposed relationships both at the student and teacher level. Most of the variance in need support was at the student level, but there was also between-teacher and between-class variance in need support. Engagement related to more need support, but only at the student level. In total, few moderation effects were found. Teachers with a relatively low controlled orientation were more need supportive when perceiving their students as emotionally and behaviorally engaged. By making teachers aware of these dynamics, automatic responses to student engagement can be better thought out. Recommendations for future research are discussed.