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Kelly R. Evenson, Brian Neelon, Sarah C. Ball, Amber Vaughn and Dianne S. Ward

Background:

Despite the growing interest in active (ie, nonmotorized) travel to and from school, few studies have explored the measurement properties to assess active travel. We evaluated the criterion validity and test–retest reliability of a questionnaire with a sample of young schoolchildren to assess travel to and from school, including mode, travel companion, and destination after school.

Methods:

To assess test–retest reliability, 54 children age 8 to 11 years completed a travel survey on 2 consecutive school days. To assess criterion validity, 28 children age 8 to 10 years and their parents completed a travel survey on 5 consecutive weekdays.

Results:

test–retest reliability of all questions indicated substantial agreement. The questions on mode of transport, where you will go after school, and how you will get there also displayed substantial agreement between parental and child reports.

Conclusions:

For this population, a questionnaire completed by school-age children to assess travel to and from school, including mode, travel companion, and destination after school, was reliably collected and indicated validity for most items when compared with parental reports.

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Stephanie Mazzucca, Cody Neshteruk, Regan Burney, Amber E. Vaughn, Derek Hales, Truls Østbye and Dianne Ward

Purpose: Many children attend family child care homes (FCCHs), an important setting to influence children’s physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB). This study assessed children’s PA and SB while in FCCHs, characteristics of the FCCH PA environment, and relationships between the environment and child PA and SB. Method: Children ages 1.5–4.0 years (n = 495) were recruited from 165 FCCHs in North Carolina. Children’s moderate to vigorous PA and SB were measured via accelerometry for 3 days. FCCH PA environments were assessed over 2 days using the Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation for FCCHs. Ten subscores and an overall PA environment score (possible range: 0–30) were calculated; higher scores indicate better quality. Results: Children accumulated 30 (13) minutes of moderate to vigorous PA and 143 (42) minutes of SB in FCCHs daily. FCCHs scored low on the Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation for FCCHs, with an average overall score of 13 (2). FCCHs scored highest on screen time and screen time practices subscores, and lowest on PA education/professional development and PA policy subscores. Although no statistically significant associations were observed, some large Cohen d effect sizes were noted (eg, outdoor playtime subscore and moderate to vigorous PA). Conclusions: This study highlights opportunities to improve FCCHs and increase children’s behaviors (eg, providing adequate time and outdoor play spaces).

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Temitope Erinosho, Derek Hales, Amber Vaughn, Stephanie Mazzucca and Dianne S. Ward

Background:

This study assessed physical activity and screen time policies in child-care centers and their associations with physical activity and screen time practices and preschool children’s (3–5 years old) physical activity.

Methods:

Data were from 50 child-care centers in North Carolina. Center directors reported on the presence/absence of written policies. Trained research assistants observed physical activity and screen time practices in at least 1 preschool classroom across 3 to 4 days. Children (N = 544) wore accelerometers to provide an objective measure of physical activity.

Results:

Physical activity and screen time policies varied across centers. Observational data showed 82.7 min/d of active play opportunities were provided to children. Screen time provided did not exceed 30 min/d/child at 98% of centers. Accelerometer data showed children spent 38 min/d in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and 206 min/d in sedentary activity. Policies about staff supervision of media use were negatively associated with screen time (P < .05). Contrary to expectation, policies about physical activity were associated with less time in physical activity.

Conclusions:

Clear strategies are needed for translating physical activity policies to practice. Further research is needed to evaluate the quality of physical activity policies, their impact on practice, and ease of operationalization.

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Amber E. Vaughn, Sarah C. Ball, Laura A. Linnan, Lauren M. Marchetti, William L. Hall and Dianne S. Ward

Background:

In the United States, promoting active transportation to school has received increased attention as a means of encouraging physical activity and preventing obesity among youth. However, little systematic evaluation of existing programs such as Walk to School (WTS) has occurred.

Methods:

WTS coordinators from across the United States were surveyed (via Web, mail, and telephone) about program activities, school and environmental characteristics, and perceived changes in children walking to school. As an exploratory aim, logistic-regression analyses were used to examine program characteristics associated with perceived increases in children walking.

Results:

From a database of 783 coordinators, 493 usable surveys were returned. Almost all respondents (98.2%) participated in a 1-day WTS event. Other common activities included promotional activities (72.7%), safety trainings (49.6%), walkability audits (48.5%), and designated safe walking routes (46.5%). As part of their WTS efforts, 24.4% made policy changes and 38.4% made changes to the physical environment. Logistic-regression analyses showed that policy changes, physical environment improvements, and number of activities were associated with the largest perceived increased in children walking to school.

Conclusions:

These findings help address the gap in knowledge about schools’ participation in WTS programs, and strategies are suggested to increase active transportation to school.