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Arto Gråstén, Anthony Watt, Jarmo Liukkonen and Timo Jaakkola

Background:

The study examined the effects of school-based program on students’ self-reported moderate to vigorous physical activity and physical competence, and associated links to gender, grade, body mass index, and physical education assessments.

Methods:

Participants were 240 middle school students (143 intervention, 97 control) from 3 small cities in North-East Finland. The intervention group received task-involving climate support in physical education classes and additional physical activities during school days across 1 year.

Results:

The intervention group’s physical competence increased, whereas the control group’s competence remained stable across the period. However, physical activity levels were stable in both groups. The findings also showed that body mass index was negatively associated with physical competence and activity in the intervention group at the follow-up measure. Physical education assessments were positively related with only the baseline scores of physical competence in the intervention group. In contrast, the assessments had positive relationships with physical competence and activity of control group students.

Conclusions:

The present program was an effective protocol to increase student’s perceptions of physical competence. Since the quantity of school physical education including recess activities cannot be dramatically increased, positive learning experiences should be provided, and thus, support perceptions of physical competence.

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Timo Tapio Jaakkola, Arja Sääkslahti, Sami Yli-Piipari, Mika Manninen, Anthony Watt and Jarmo Liukkonen

The purpose of the study was to analyze students’ motivation in relation to their participation in fitness testing classes. Participants were 134 Finnish Grade 5 and 8 students. Students completed the contextual motivation and perceived physical competence scales before the fitness testing class and the situational motivation questionnaire immediately after the class. During the fitness test class, abdominal muscle endurance was measured by curl-up test, lower body explosive strength and locomotor skills by the five leaps test, and speed and agility by the Figure 8 running test. For the fitness testing class, students reported higher scores for intrinsic motivation, identified motivation, and amotivation than in their general physical education program. The result of the path analysis showed physical fitness was positively related to perceived physical competence. In addition, perceived competence was found to be a positive predictor of situational intrinsic motivation, but not of other forms of situational motivation. Significant path coefficients in the model ranged from −.15 to .26.

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Jarmo Liukkonen, Timo Jaakkola, Sami Kokko, Arto Gråstén, Sami Yli-Piipari, Pasi Koski, Jorma Tynjälä, Anne Soini, Timo Ståhl and Tuija Tammelin

The Finnish 2014 Report Card on Physical Activity (PA) for Children and Youth is the first assessment of Finland’s efforts in promoting and facilitating PA opportunities for children and youth using the Active Healthy Kids Canada grading system. The Report Card relies primarily on research findings from 6 Research Institutes, coordinated by the University of Jyväskylä. The Research Work Group convened to evaluate the aggregated evidence and assign grades for each of the 9 PA indicators, following the Canadian Report Card protocol. Grades from A (highest) to F (lowest) varied in Finland as follows: 1) Overall physical activity—fulfillment of recommendations (D), 2) Organized sport participation (C), 3) Active play (D), 4) Active transportation (B), 5) Sedentary behaviors (D), 6) Family and peers (C), 7) School (B), 8) Community and the built environment (B), and 9) Government (B). This comprehensive summary and assessment of indicators related to PA in Finnish children and youth indicates that Finland still has many challenges to promote a physically active life style for youth.

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Mark S. Tremblay, Casey E. Gray, Kingsley Akinroye, Dierdre M. Harrington, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Estelle V. Lambert, Jarmo Liukkonen, Ralph Maddison, Reginald T. Ocansey, Vincent O. Onywera, Antonio Prista, John J. Reilly, María del Pilar Rodríguez Martínez, Olga L. Sarmiento Duenas, Martyn Standage and Grant Tomkinson

The Active Healthy Kids Canada (AHKC) Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth has been effective in powering the movement to get kids moving by influencing priorities, policies, and practice in Canada. The AHKC Report Card process was replicated in 14 additional countries from 5 continents using 9 common indicators (Overall Physical Activity, Organized Sport Participation, Active Play, Active Transportation, Sedentary Behavior, Family and Peers, School, Community and Built Environment, and Government Strategies and Investments), a harmonized process and a standardized grading framework. The 15 Report Cards were presented at the Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children in Toronto on May 20, 2014. The consolidated findings are summarized here in the form of a global matrix of grades. There is a large spread in grades across countries for most indicators. Countries that lead in certain indicators lag in others. Overall, the grades for indicators of physical activity (PA) around the world are low/poor. Many countries have insufficient information to assign a grade, particularly for the Active Play and Family and Peers indicators. Grades for Sedentary Behaviors are, in general, better in low income countries. The Community and Built Environment indicator received high grades in high income countries and notably lower grades in low income countries. There was a pattern of higher PA and lower sedentary behavior in countries reporting poorer infrastructure, and lower PA and higher sedentary behavior in countries reporting better infrastructure, which presents an interesting paradox. Many surveillance and research gaps and weaknesses were apparent. International cooperation and cross-fertilization is encouraged to tackle existing challenges, understand underlying mechanisms, derive innovative solutions, and overcome the expanding childhood inactivity crisis.