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


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.


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.


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.


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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Brandon L. Alderman, Tami Benham-Deal, Aaron Beighle, Heather E. Erwin and Ryan L. Olson

Little is known about the exact contribution of physical education (PE) to total daily physical activity (PA) among children and adolescents. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe the PA of middle school students during PE and non-PE days and determine if children would compensate for a lack of PE by increasing their PA later in the day. Two hundred seventy nine students (159 boys, 120 girls) wore pedometers (Walk4Life LS252, Plainfield, IL) during 5 school days, with at least two of the days including scheduled PE. The least (~1,575; 31% increase), moderately (~2,650; 20% increase), and most highly active students (~5,950; 34% increase) accumulated significantly more daily step counts on days when they participated in PE. Nearly three times the percent of boys (37%) and more than two times the percent of girls (61%) met the recommended steps/day guidelines on days when PE was offered. Rather than a compensatory effect, the most highly active students were more active on school days with PE, even after accounting for the steps they accrued in PE. The evidence is consistent with other studies that have found that PE contributes meaningfully to daily PA, that youth do not compensate when they are not provided opportunities to be physically active in school-based programs, and some youth are stimulated to be more active when they participate in school-based PA programs.