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  • Author: Brian Castrucci x
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Deanna M. Hoelscher, Cristina Barroso, Andrew Springer, Brian Castrucci and Steven H. Kelder

Background:

Few studies have compared physical activity (PA) and sedentary activity (SA) by grade and ethnicity, specifically including elementary school students. A cross-sectional probability-based design was used to provide data by ethnicity (African American, Hispanic, and White/Other), gender, and grade (4th, 8th, and 11th) from 2000 to 2002.

Methods:

Two validated questionnaires (elementary and secondary) assessed self-reported PA and SA. Point-prevalence estimates and 95% confidence intervals were computed.

Results:

Over 70% of students reported vigorous PA on ≥3 days/week, but <50% participated in daily physical education. A significant percentage (30% to 50%) of students reported ≥3 hours per day in SA. Fourth-grade boys and girls reported equal PA; however, 8th and 11th grade girls reported lowered vigorous PA. African American 8th- and 11th-grade boys reported the highest PA, but African American children also reported the highest prevalence of SA.

Conclusions:

Findings from this study highlight the disparities in physical and sedentary activities by gender, grade, and race/ethnicity, and the need to address these differences with programs and policy. In general, grade level and gender differences were more striking and consistent than racial/ethnic differences.