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Cindy Rutten, Filip Boen and Jan Seghers

Based on the self-determination theory, this study investigated the mediating role of the satisfaction of the three psychological needs (need for competence, relatedness and autonomy) in the relation between need support from the physical education (PE) teacher and autonomous motivation to engage in PE and between the physical school environment and autonomous motivation to engage in PE. Data were collected from 2418 6th grade children. Analyses were performed using bootstrapping. The results showed that perceptions of competence and autonomy mediated the relation between need support from the PE teacher and autonomous motivation. Moreover, the perception of autonomy also mediated the relation between the physical school environment and autonomous motivation. These findings suggest that not only the PE teacher but also the physical school environment is able to promote autonomous motivation by satisfying the need for autonomy.

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Cindy Rutten, Filip Boen and Jan Seghers

Based on self-determination theory, the purpose of this study was to explore the mediating role of autonomous motivation in the relation between environmental factors and pedometer-determined PA among 10- to 12-year-old Flemish children. Data were collected from 787 6th grade pupils and one of their parents. Children completed self-report measures including autonomous motivation for PA and perceived autonomy support for PA by parents and friends. Parents completed a questionnaire concerning their PA related parenting practices (logistic support and explicit modeling) and the perceived home environment with respect to PA opportunities. The results confirmed that autonomous motivation mediated the relation between children’s PA and their perceived autonomy support by friends and parents. Autonomous motivation also mediated the relation between parental logistic support and PA. In addition, a positive direct relation was found between parental explicit modeling and children’s PA, and between perceived neighborhood safety and children’s PA.

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Cindy Rutten, Filip Boen and Jan Seghers

Background:

To examine which school- and home-based factors at age 11 to 12 (6th grade, elementary school) predict physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) at age 13 to 14 (8th grade, secondary school).

Methods:

Data at both time points were collected from 472 children (mean age baseline = 10.97, SD age = 0.41) and their parents. Children and parents completed self-reported questionnaires. Children’s height and weight were measured and children wore a pedometer for 7 days.

Results:

Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that predominantly boys (β = −.11), children with higher levels of pedometer-determined PA (β = .44) and more parental logistic support (β = .11) at age 11 to 12 displayed higher levels of pedometer-determined PA at age 13 to 14 (R2 = 39.1%). Similar results emerged for self-reported moderate-to-vigorous PA (R2 = 36.7%). Finally, lower levels of screen-based SB at age 13 to 14 (R 2 = 32.5%) were most strongly related to lower levels of screen-based SB (β = .41), a medium/high socioeconomic status (β = −.18), and higher levels of parental PA explicit modeling (β = −.18) at age 11 to 12.

Conclusions:

Children’s PA/SB and the supportive role of parents at age 11 to 12 are strong predictors of PA and screen-based SB at age 13 to 14.

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Cindy Rutten, Filip Boen and Jan Seghers

Background:

The purpose of this study was to identify longitudinal changes in physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) and to analyze its association with gender and weight status during the transition from elementary to secondary school.

Methods:

Flemish children were recruited in 6th grade of elementary school (age = 10.97 ± 0.41) and reassessed 2 years later (age = 12.96 ± .40). Children completed a questionnaire on moderate-to-vigorous PA and SB and wore pedometers to monitor habitual PA. Longitudinal data from 472 children were analyzed.

Results:

A significant decrease was observed in self-reported moderate to vigorous PA (-12.2%), but not in pedometer-determined PA. With respect to SB, a pronounced increase in recreational computer use was found (+3.22 hours/week), particularly in overweight boys (+8.18 hours/week). Finally, a significant increase in time spent on homework was observed in girls (+3.57 hours/week) and normal weight children (+2.83 hours/week).

Conclusions:

No longitudinal change in pedometer-determined PA was observed. Nevertheless, the decline in self-reported moderate-to-vigorous PA suggests that the transition to secondary school induced a change in the contribution of different types of PA. Finally, time spent on homework and recreational computer use increased during the school transition.

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Cindy Rutten, Filip Boen, Nathalie Vissers and Jan Seghers

Based on Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000), this study tested whether changes in autonomous motivation toward physical education (AMPE) during the transition from elementary to secondary school can be predicted by changes in perceived need support from the physical education (PE) teacher and perceived physical school environment. Self-reported data were gathered from 472 Flemish (northern part of Belgium) students in 6th grade (2009) and again in 8th grade (2011). Mediation analyses showed that an increase in perceived need support from the PE teacher was related to an increase in AMPE (boys: β = .42; girls: β = .50). In boys, this relation was mediated by changes in perceived competence (β = .08). In girls, this relation was mediated by changes in perceived autonomy (β = .12), perceived competence (β = .14), and perceived relatedness (β = .05). This study shows that PE teachers should be need-supportive to maintain a good quality of motivation in students.

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Anass Arrogi, Astrid Schotte, An Bogaerts, Filip Boen and Jan Seghers

Background: This study evaluated the effects of a 3-month workplace physical activity (PA) intervention on employees’ health-related fitness and well-being. Moreover, mediational pathways were examined. Methods: A longitudinal, quasi-experimental trial was evaluated in Belgian employees. The intervention group (IG: n = 246) received 3-months individualized, tailored PA counseling, consisting of face-to-face counseling and follow-up e-mail and telephone contacts. The reference group (n = 54) received no PA counseling. Outcome measures (assessed at baseline, 3 mo [short term], and 9 mo [long term]) included body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, well-being, and step-based PA. Results: With no changes in the reference group, the IG showed short-term improvements in body mass index (−0.24 kg/m2, P < .001), body fat (−0.88%, P < .001), waist circumference (−1.47 cm, P < .001), and muscle percentage (+0.47%, P < .001). Moreover, with respect to cardiorespiratory fitness, IG participants improved on perceived exertion, both in the short term (−0.91, P < .001) and long term (−0.83, P < .001). Furthermore, perceived physical well-being increased in the IG, both in the short term (+0.57, P < .001) and long term (+0.57, P < .001). The observed intervention effects on body composition, perceived exertion, and well-being were mediated by (increases in) step-based PA. Conclusions: Workplace PA counseling programs have the potential to enhance employees’ health-related fitness and well-being. Importantly, step-based PA behavior change was found to contribute to the postintervention improvements.

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Jan Seghers, Stijn De Baere, Maïté Verloigne and Greet Cardon

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Rosalie Coolkens, Phillip Ward, Jan Seghers and Peter Iserbyt

Background: Recess strategies that increase children’s physical activity and contribute to the daily 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) are recommended. Methods: A cluster randomized trial was conducted to examine the effect of supervised versus organized recess on children’s participation, physical activity, play, and social behavior. In supervised recess, children were free to play, and physical education (PE) teachers ensured safety. In organized recess, PE teachers provided challenging tasks. Data were collected using systematic observation. Children (N = 281; 8–10 y) from 14 schools received a 6-day parkour unit in PE and three opportunities to participate in a 20-minute parkour recess. Schools were randomized over a supervised and organized parkour recess condition. Results: The majority of children participated in parkour recess (range = 56%–85%), with more boys participating in all 3 organized versus supervised recess sessions (57% vs 35%, P = .01). Boys spent more time in MVPA during organized recess (79% vs 71%, P = .02). Boys and girls spent more time in activity games during organized recess (59% vs 46%, P = .01; 59% vs 47%, P = .001). Conclusion: Organized recess attracted more children and made the largest contribution to daily MVPA.

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Sofie Martien, Christophe Delecluse, Jan Seghers and Filip Boen

The primary purpose of this study was to assess the validity of two motion sensors in measuring steps in institutionalized older adults during daily life activities. Sixty-eight nursing home residents (85.8 ± 5.6 years) were equipped with a hip-worn and ankle-worn piezoelectric pedometer (New Lifestyles 2000) and with an arm-mounted multisensor (SenseWear Mini). An investigator with a hand counter tallied the actual steps. The results revealed that the multisensor and hip- and ankle-worn pedometer significantly underestimated step counts (89.6 ± 17.2%, 72.9 ± 25.8%, and 20.8 ± 24.6%, respectively). Walking speed accounted for 41.6% of the variance in percent error of the ankle-worn pedometer. The threshold value for accurate step counting was set at 2.35 km/hr, providing percent error scores within ± 5%. The ankle-worn piezoelectric pedometer can be useful for accurate quantification of walking steps in the old and old-old (> 85 years) walking faster than 2.35 km/hr.

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Loren Vandenbroucke, Jan Seghers, Karine Verschueren, Anne I. Wijtzes and Dieter Baeyens

Background:

The current study investigates how children’s amount of daily physical activity relates to subcomponents of executive functions, the cognitive processes needed for goal-directed behavior. Previous studies rarely determined this association at the subcomponent level and did not explicitly examine the period when children make the transition to first grade, despite its importance for the development of executive functions.

Methods:

In a sample of 54 children, working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility were thoroughly measured at the subcomponent level at the end of kindergarten and first grade. In the middle of first grade, children wore a pedometer for 7 consecutive days.

Results:

Regression analyses showed that performance on a measure of the visuospatial sketchpad, the central executive, and fluency was predicted by children’s amount of daily physical activity after controlling for initial task performance.

Conclusions:

The development of the visuospatial sketchpad (working memory), the central executive (working memory), and fluency (cognitive flexibility) might be improved by increasing the amount of time being physically active. However, as other subcomponents of executive functioning were not affected, the role of other aspects of physical activity, such as intensity and content, in the development of executive functions should be further investigated.