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Test–Retest Reliability of a Preadolescent Environmental Access to Physical Activity Questionnaire

Heather Elizabeth Erwin

Background:

Physical activity behavior is an important aspect of overall health, and it is important to understand determinants of physical activity in order for children to accumulate the recommended levels. The ecological-systems theory describes the relationship between individuals and their contexts, suggesting that environment affects physical activity behaviors. Researchers should measure children’s access to physical activity to determine environmental influences. At the time of data collection, however, no reliable questionnaires had been created for measuring children’s access to physical activity.

Methods:

Students from grades 4 and 5 completed a physical activity environmental-access questionnaire on 2 occasions, approximately 7 to 10 days apart.

Results:

The questionnaire appeared appropriate for children age 9 to 12. The lowest reliability was found with items located in the school environment.

Conclusions:

This questionnaire is a suitable tool for examining children’s physical activity supports and inhibitors.

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Chapter 4: A Comparison of Personal Attributes and Experiences among Physically Active and Inactive Children

Darla M. Castelli and Heather E. Erwin

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The Role of Biographical Characteristics in Preservice Classroom Teachers’ School Physical Activity Promotion Attitudes

Collin Webster, Eva Monsma, and Heather Erwin

Recommendations for increasing children’s daily physical activity (PA) call on classroom teachers to assume an activist role at school. This study examined relationships among preservice classroom teachers’ (PCT; n = 247) biographical characteristics, perceptions and attitudes regarding school PA promotion (SPAP). Results indicated participants who completed SPAP-related college coursework and had PA-related teaching/coaching experiences reported higher SPAP competence. Significant relationships were found among BMI, personal PA competence and SPAP competence in the contexts of PE and extracurricular settings. Personal PA competence and SPAP competence at recess and in the classroom predicted 19% of the variance in SPAP attitudes. Experiences in PA settings and preservice training may have important implications for the overall success of efforts to enhance school PA promotion.

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The Walking Classroom: Measuring the Impact of Physical Activity on Student Cognitive Performance and Mood

Erianne A. Weight, Molly Harry, and Heather Erwin

Background: The Walking Classroom is an education program that provides students with an opportunity to accumulate physical activity without losing instructional time. Method: This research tests Kuczala’s application of kinesthetic learning theory through measuring knowledge retention, postactivity information processing, and mood in students who engage in a short bout of physical activity while listening to Walking Classroom podcasts about language arts, science, and history, and those who remain seated during a podcast, compared with baseline levels. Students from 9 high-poverty fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms (n = 319) in a North Carolina county comprised the sample. Results: Utilizing multivariate analysis of covariance, the results demonstrate significantly higher levels of learning while walking compared with learning while sitting. Measures of mood utilizing the 10-item version of the Positive and Negative Affect Scale also demonstrated a significant effect in predicted directions. Conclusion: The results support that coupling physical activity with instruction leads to increased performance and mood for elementary school students.

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Systematic Review of Recess Interventions to Increase Physical Activity

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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A Qualitative Examination of Online Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Observational Preferences Within Physical Education

Ken Murfay, Sarah Pyszczynski, and Heather Erwin

Purpose: This qualitative case study examined students’ interpretations of their physical activity (PA) experiences within in-person and online physical education and how that influenced their PA self-efficacy. Method: The study participants were 40 (24 females) current high school students from three different schools who participated in focus group semistructured interviews. Results: Two themes were developed during analysis of the coded data: (a) online participation in PA within physical education was awkward and (b) students had a variety of observational preferences based on perceived and actual similarities/differences between students and their teachers, peers, and people within online videos. Discussion/Conclusion: The design of PA experiences should attempt to support or increase students’ PA self-efficacy by limiting students’ feelings of being uncomfortable or on display, increasing students’ opportunities to learn from each other in comfortable ways, and providing students with detailed demonstrations from teachers and peers with a variety of skill levels.

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Perspectives on Physical Activity and Exercise Among Appalachian Youth

Mark Swanson, Nancy E. Schoenberg, Heather Erwin, and Rian E. Davis

Background:

Most children in the United States receive far less physical activity (PA) than is optimal. In rural, under resourced areas of Appalachian Kentucky, physical inactivity rates are significantly higher than national levels. We sought to understand children’s perceptions of PA, with the goal of developing culturally appropriate programming to increase PA.

Methods:

During 11 focus groups, we explored perspectives on PA among 63 Appalachian children, ages 8−17. Sessions were tape recorded, transcribed, content analyzed, and subjected to verification procedures.

Results:

Several perspectives on PA emerged among these rural Appalachian youth, including the clear distinction between PA (viewed as positive) and exercise (viewed as negative) and an emphasis on time and resource factors as barriers to adequate PA. Additional PA determinants expressed in the focus groups are similar to those of other populations. We include children’s recommendations for appealing PA programs.

Conclusions:

Appalachian and other rural residents contend with the loss of rural health advantages (due to declines in farming/other occupational and avocational transitions). At the same time, Appalachian residents have not benefitted from urban PA facilitators (sidewalks, recreational facilities, clubs and organized leisure activities). Addressing low PA levels requires extensive community input and creative programming.

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Student Perceived Motivational Climate, Enjoyment, and Physical Activity in Middle School Physical Education

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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Chapter 4 Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs: Characteristics of Trained Teachers

Erin E. Centeio, Heather Erwin, and Darla M. Castelli

As public health concerns about physical inactivity and childhood obesity continue to rise, researchers are calling for interventions that comprehensively lead to more opportunities to participate in physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to examine the characteristics and attitudes of trained physical education teachers during the implementation of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program at the elementary level. Using a collective case study design, interviews, observations, field notes, open-ended survey questions, and an online forum monitoring guided the interpretation of teacher perceptions and development of emergent themes. Qualitative data analysis was conducted for each individual teacher and then across the ten teachers which produced four major themes: (a) Leading the Charge: Ready, Set, Go!, (b) Adoption versus Adaptation: Implementation Varies, (c) Social Media’s Place in the Professional Development (PD) Community, and (d) Keys to Successful Implementation. It can be concluded that, based on these findings, elementary physical education teachers are ready and willing to implement CSPAP. Key factors that may influence this implementation are discussed.

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The Success and Struggles of Physical Education Teachers While Teaching Online During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Erin Centeio, Kevin Mercier, Alex Garn, Heather Erwin, Risto Marttinen, and John Foley

The purpose of this study was to investigate physical education teachers’ perceptions of implementing online physical education during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to explore their needs with regard to support for future teaching experiences. A total of 4,302 teachers completed four open-ended questions as part of a larger survey. Deductive and inductive qualitative analysis led to three themes: (a) Teachers’ Proud Moments, (b) Help! So Many Obstacles, and (c) Future Challenges. Teachers stated many successes and challenges that they experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many items specifically focused on use and access to technology, student participation, and meeting students’ needs in various ways. Results can provide guidance for how to address the essential components of physical education in the online environment. In addition, results may provide insight to those who educate, train, and prepare teachers to teach in a virtual and/or physically distanced environment.