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Aaron Beighle and Robert P. Pangrazi

Background:

The primary purpose of this study was to describe the association between activity time and step counts in children.

Methods:

Subjects were 590 students (334 girls, 256 boys) with each gender having a mean age of 9.2 ± 1.8 y. All subjects wore the Walk4Life 2505 pedometer for four consecutive weekdays. This pedometer simultaneously measures both step counts and activity time.

Results:

Boys accumulated significantly more minutes of activity time/day (140.9 ± 39.6 vs. 126.3 ± 38.1), steps/day (13,348 ± 4131 vs. 11,702 ± 3923), and steps per min (93.99 ± 5.8 vs. 91.85 ± 5.8) than girls (P < 0.001) Steps/day was a significant predictor of activity time/day (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions:

Boys accumulate more steps per day and more activity time per day than girls. There is a strong association between steps per day and activity time in children. Daily steps per minute as a measure of free living physical activity in children is explored

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Melinda J. Ickes, Heather Erwin and Aaron Beighle

Background:

With the rapid increase in obesity rates among youth, efforts to increase physical activity (PA) have become a priority. School-based strategies for PA promotion must be cost-effective, unobtrusive, and linked to improved academic performance. Efforts to maximize recess PA are advocated because of both health and academic benefits. The purpose of this manuscript was to review recess interventions aimed to improve PA among youth, and make recommendations to develop related best practices.

Methods:

An extensive literature search was conducted to include all primary research articles evaluating any recess intervention with PA as an outcome.

Results:

The included 13 interventions represented both settings within the U.S and internationally, among preschools and elementary/primary schools. A variety of strategies were used within the design and implementation of each of the interventions including: added equipment/materials, markings, zones, teacher involvement, active video games, activity of the week, and activity cards. Of the included studies, 95% demonstrated positive outcomes as a result of the recess intervention.

Conclusions:

A number of simple, low-cost strategies can be implemented to maximize the amount of recess time students are allotted. Long-term follow-up studies are warranted for each of the recess strategies identified to be effective.

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Michael William Beets, Jennifer Huberty and Aaron Beighle

Background:

National and state organizations have called upon afterschool programs (3–6 PM, ASP) to promote physical activity (PA). Few strategies exist that ASPs can use to increase the PA of children enrolled. This study evaluated a policy-level intervention (Movin’ Afterschool, MAS) designed to increase PA through staff implemented policy-level changes and ongoing technical support.

Methods:

Twelve preexisting community-based ASPs serving 580 children (5–12 yrs, 57% girls) were invited to take part in MAS. Evaluation of children’s PA, staff behaviors (engaged or promote PA, other ASP tasks, general supervising), and environmental features (equipment, organized PA) at baseline (Fall 2010) and postassessment (Spring 2011) were collected using SOPLAY (System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth) for boys and girls, separately. Random effects models evaluated changes in PA categories (sedentary, walking, vigorous).

Results:

The percentage of boys and girls sedentary decreased by 11.8% and 11.4%, respectively. Girls walking increased by 6.9% while boys vigorous PA increased by 6.5%. Greater increases in vigorous activity were observed as postassessment in organized activities for boys and during indoor activities for girls.

Conclusions:

Findings indicate a policy-level approach targeting staff training and ongoing technical support can produce notable increases in PA within the ASP setting.

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Jennifer L. Huberty, Michael W. Beets, Aaron Beighle and Greg Welk

Background:

The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of Ready for Recess: an elementary school recess intervention targeting staff training (ST) and providing recreational equipment (EQ).

Methods:

Ready for Recess had 4 intervention schools: 1) EQ+ST, 2) EQ, 3) ST, and 4) control. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was assessed with accelerometers at the four schools in 257 3rd- to 6th-grade children. Random intercept models for overweight/obese (OWOB) and healthy weight (HW) for boys and girls separately, examined change in percentage of time spent in MVPA during recess across EQ+ST, EQ, and ST compared with the control from baseline to postintervention.

Results:

HW boys receiving EQ+ST increased MVPA by 19.4%, OWOB boys receiving ST increased MVPA by 4.5%, OWOB girls receiving EQ-ST increased MVPA by 6.0%, while HW girls receiving EQ decreased MVPA by 13.6% in comparison with the control.

Conclusions:

Ready for Recess represents a possible means to increase MVPA in OWOB girls/boys, populations least likely to meet MVPA recommendations. However, the effect of the intervention was not uniform across all subgroups.

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Mark Abel, James Hannon, David Mullineaux and Aaron Beighle

Background:

Current recommendations call for adults to be physically active at moderate and/or vigorous intensities. Given the popularity of walking and running, the use of step rates may provide a practical and inexpensive means to evaluate ambulatory intensity. Thus, the purpose of this study was to identify step rate thresholds that correspond to various intensity classifications.

Methods:

Oxygen consumption was measured at rest and during 10 minute treadmill walking and running trials at 6 standardized speeds (54, 80, 107, 134, 161, and 188 m·min-1) in 9 men and 10 women (28.8 ± 6.8 yrs). Two observers counted the participants’ steps at each treadmill speed. Linear and nonlinear regression analyses were used to develop prediction equations to ascertain step rate thresholds at various intensities.

Results:

Nonlinear regression analysis of the metabolic cost versus step rates across all treadmill speeds yielded the highest R 2 values for men (R 2 = .91) and women (R 2 = .79). For men, the nonlinear analysis yielded 94 and 125 step·min-1 for moderate and vigorous intensities, respectively. For women, 99 and 135 step·min-1 corresponded with moderate and vigorous intensities, respectively.

Conclusions:

Promoting a step rate of 100 step·min-1 may serve as a practical public health recommendation to exercise at moderate intensity.

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Christine E. Johnson, Heather E. Erwin, Lindsay Kipp and Aaron Beighle

We used achievement goal theory to examine students’ physical activity (PA) motivation and physical education (PE) enjoyment. Purposes included: 1) determine whether schools with different pedagogical approaches varied in student perceptions of mastery and performance climate dimensions, enjoyment, and PA; 2) examine gender and grade differences in enjoyment and PA; and 3) determine if dimensions of motivational climate predicted enjoyment and PA levels in PE, controlling for gender and grade. Youth (n = 290, 150 girls) from three southeast United States middle schools wore a pedometer and completed a motivational climate and enjoyment questionnaire. Boys were more active and enjoyed PE more than girls, and 7th/8th grade students were more active than 6th grade students. Enjoyment was positively predicted by teacher’s emphasis on two mastery climate dimensions, controlling for gender. PE activity time was predicted by two performance climate dimensions, controlling for gender and grade. Implications for practice are discussed.

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Michael W. Beets, Rohan Shah, Robert Glenn Weaver, Jennifer Huberty, Aaron Beighle and Justin B. Moore

Background:

After-school programs (ASPs) across the nation have been asked to increase the amount of activity children accumulate during such programs. Policies/standards that benchmark the amount of total activity (light-to-vigorous physical activity, LVPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) accumulated in an ASP have been developed. Little is known about the prevalence of children meeting these goals.

Methods:

Children (N = 812, 6 to 12 y old) attending 19 ASPs wore accelerometers for 4 days while attending an ASP. LVPA and MVPA were dichotomized according to existing ASP policies/standards. Data on whether a policy/standard was met were compared between gender, age, BMI, race/ethnicity, and ASP-type (faith-, school-, community-based) using mixed-model logistic-regression.

Results:

The prevalence of meeting an LVPA policy/standard ranged from 75.4% (National Afterschool Association [NAA], 20% of program time spent in LVPA) to 97.8% (NAA, 20% of time in attendance spent in LVPA), and meeting an MVPA policy/standard ranged from 0.3% (California, 60 min MVPA/d) to 26.9% (North Carolina, 20% of attendance spent in MVPA). Boys, younger children, nonwhites, and children attending faithor community-based ASPs were more likely to meet any policy/standard.

Conclusion:

Current practice in ASPs is sufficient to meet LVPA policies/standards but insufficient to meet MVPA policy/standards. Efforts must be directed toward identifying the most appropriate policy/standard and strategies to meet it.

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Keith Brazendale, Michael William Beets, Robert Glenn Weaver, Jennifer Huberty, Aaron E. Beighle and Russell R. Pate

Background:

Afterschool programs (ASPs) can provide opportunities for children to accumulate moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). The optimal amount of time ASPs should allocate for physical activity (PA) on a daily basis to ensure children achieve policystated PA recommendations remains unknown.

Methods:

Children (n = 1248, 5 to 12 years) attending 20 ASPs wore accelerometers up to 4 nonconsecutive week days for the duration of the ASPs during spring 2013 (February–April). Daily schedules were obtained from each ASP.

Results:

Across 20 ASPs, 3 programs allocated ≤ 30min, 5 approximately 45 min, 4 60 min, 4 75 min, and 4 ≥ 105 min for PA opportunities daily (min·d-1). Children accumulated the highest levels of MVPA in ASPs that allocated ≥ 60 min·d-1 for PA opportunities (24.8–25.1 min·d-1 for boys and 17.1–19.4 min·d-1 for girls) versus ASPs allocating ≤ 45 min·d-1 for PA opportunities (19.7 min·d-1 and 15.6 min·d-1 for boys and girls, respectively). There were no differences in the amount of MVPA accumulated by children among ASPs that allocated 60 min·d-1 (24.8 min·d-1 for boys and 17.1 min·d-1 for girls), 75 min·d-1 (25.1 min·d-1 for boys and 19.4 min·d-1 for girls) or ≥ 105 min·d-1 (23.8 min·d-1 for boys and 17.8 min·d-1 for girls). Across ASPs, 26% of children (31% for boys and 14% for girls) met the recommended 30 minutes of MVPA.

Conclusions:

Allocating more than 1 hour of PA opportunities is not associated with an increase in MVPA during ASPs. Allocating 60 min·d-1, in conjunction with enhancing PA opportunities, can potentially serve to maximize children’s accumulation of MVPA during ASPs.

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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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Michael W. Beets, Robert G. Weaver, Aaron Beighle, Collin Webster and Russell R. Pate

Background:

Summer day camps (SDC) represent one of the largest settings, outside the academic school year, where children can engage in safe, enjoyable physical activity (PA). Yet, little is known about this setting and how active children are while attending.

Methods:

System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth was used to categorize PA of boys/girls as Sedentary/Walking/Vigorous across multiple days (8 AM to 6 PM) in 4 large-scale community-based SDCs. Contextual characteristics of type of activity, activity management, equipment, and in/outdoors were collected simultaneously. Mixed-model regression analyses examined associations between PA categories and contextual characteristics.

Results:

A total of 4649 scans of 2462 children were made across 27 days in the SDCs. Physical activity opportunities represented 38% of the daily schedule. Overall, 74%–79%, 13%–16%, and 7%–9% of children were observed Sedentary, Walking, or Vigorous during the SDC, and this changed to 62%–67%, 18%–19%, and 15%–18% observed Sedentary, Walking, or Vigorous during PA opportunities. Water-based PA, equipment, and free-play were related to increased PA. Children waiting-in-line for turns, staff instructing, and organized PA were related to increased sedentary.

Conclusions:

These findings provide evidence of modifiable characteristics of SDCs associated with PA. Improving staff skills related to facilitating active environments is a viable avenue to increase PA accumulated within SDCs.