Girls are less active than boys and in need of physical activity (PA) interventions. The time directly following school may be a prime opportunity to increase PA, specifically in girls. Afterschool programs and the staff who serve as role models play a critical role in promoting girls’ PA. However, staff do not always provide the support necessary to encourage girls to be active. Studies are needed to explore afterschool program staff’s perceptions of girls’ motivation, as well as their provision of support for autonomy, competence, and relationships with girls (relatedness) to understand how to best promote PA. The purpose of this study was to explore staff and girls’ perceptions of girls’ motivation for PA. The secondary purpose was to explore staff and girls’ perceptions of autonomy, competence, and relatedness support for PA. Interviews with staff (n = 45) and focus groups with girls (n = 88) occurred in 10 afterschool program sites. Half of staff compared with a majority of girls thought girls’ motivation was intrinsic and self-determined (e.g., participated for enjoyment). Three-fourths of staff reported attempting to gain girls’ input and a majority of girls felt they had autonomy to choose or input on the PA provided. Half of staff compared with a quarter of girls thought girls’ competence was negatively impacted by other children. Finally, staff and girls reported spending time together in sedentary pursuits. Efforts are needed to ensure staff: understand girls’ PA motivation, create an autonomy supportive environment, and engage girls in active pursuits.
Danae Dinkel, Jennifer Huberty, Melissa Tibbits and Melicia Whitt-Glover
Danae Dinkel, Dipti Dev, Yage Guo, Emily Hulse, Zainab Rida, Ami Sedani and Brian Coyle
Background: The purpose of this study was to determine if the Go Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment in Child Care (Go NAP SACC) intervention was effective in improving best practices in the areas of infant and child physical activity and outdoor play and learning in family child care homes (FCCHs) in Nebraska. Methods: FCCHs (n = 201) participated in a pre–post evaluation using the Infant and Child Physical Activity and Outdoor Play and Learning assessments from the Go NAP SACC validated measure to assess compliance with best practices. Results: At post, FCCHs demonstrated significant differences in 85% of the Infant and Child Physical Activity items (17 of 20) and 80% of the Outdoor Play and Learning items (12 of 15). Significant differences in best practices between urban and rural FCCH providers were also found. Conclusion: Go NAP SACC appears to be an effective intervention in Nebraska as, after participation in the initiative, providers were improving child care physical activity best practices. Additional research is needed to objectively determine if these changes resulted in objective improvements in children’s physical activity levels. Further, efforts are needed to develop and/or identify geographic-specific resources for continued improvement.