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  • Author: Heather Erwin x
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Robert G. Weaver, Aaron Beighle, Heather Erwin, Michelle Whitfield, Michael W. Beets and James W. Hardin

Background: Direct observation protocols may introduce variability in physical activity estimates. Methods: Thirty-five physical education lessons were video recorded and coded using the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT). A multistep process examined variability in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA%; walking + vigorous/total scans). Initially, per-SOFIT protocol MVPA% (MVPA%SOFIT) estimates were produced for each lesson. Second, true MVPA% (mean MVPA% of all students using all observations, MVPA%true) estimates were calculated. Third, MVPA% (MVPA%perm) was calculated based on all permutations of students and observation order. Fourth, physical education lessons were divided into 2 groups with 5 lessons from each group randomly selected 10,000 times. Group MVPA%perm differences between the 10 selected lessons were compared with the MVPA%true difference between group 1 and group 2. Results: Across all lessons, 10,212,600 permutations were possible (average 291,789 combinations per lesson; range = 73,440–570,024). Across lessons, the average absolute difference between MVPA%true and MVPA%SOFIT estimates was ±4.8% (range = 0.1%–17.5%). Permutations, based on students selected and observation order, indicated that the mean range of MVPA%perm estimates was 41.6% within a lesson (range = 29.8%–55.9%). Differences in MVPA% estimates between the randomly selected groups of lessons varied by 32.0%. Conclusion: MVPA% estimates from focal child observation should be interpreted with caution.

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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.

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Heather Erwin, Mark Abel, Aaron Beighle, Melody P. Noland, Brooke Worley and Richard Riggs

Background:

Recess is an important component of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program, providing approximately 1268 and 914 steps for boys and girls, respectively, within a 15-minute time period. The purpose of this study was to determine the contribution of unstructured recess on children’s school-day physical activity levels and to examine if recess and school-day physical activity levels varied by BMI, gender, and grade level.

Methods:

One-hundred sixty third- to fifth-grade students from 2 elementary schools wore pedometers during 4 recess periods.

Results:

Recess accounted for 17% to 44% of school-day step counts. There was a significant main effect for grade level, but not for BMI or gender, on the percentage of school-day steps accumulated during recess.

Conclusions:

A 15-minute recess makes a valuable contribution to children’s school-day physical activity, especially for the least active children. More research is warranted to determine environmental influences on children’s recess physical activity.