Homeschooling is increasingly popular, but little is known about how homeschooling affects physical activity patterns or fitness levels. This study compares patterns of physical fitness, physical activity, and psychosocial correlates of physical activity in homeschooled youth and youth attending public school. Fitness levels were obtained using the PACER aerobic fitness test, physical activity levels were assessed with 3 days of accelerometry, and psychosocial correlates were assessed with the Children’s Physical Activity Correlates scale. There were no significant main effects for fitness comparisons, but significant age and gender interactions indicate that variability exists within these samples for fitness. No school type effects were evident for the physical activity measures or the psychosocial correlate measures, but trends in the data suggest the possibility of age-related interactions for the psychosocial measures. Additional research on possible differences between homeschooled youth and youth attending public school is needed to better understand these trends.
Gregory J. Welk, Jodee A. Schaben and Mack Shelley
Jodee A. Schaben, Gregory J. Welk, Roxane Joens-Matre and Larry Hensley
Understanding physical activity (PA) correlates in youth is challenging due to the inherent changes in activity patterns, activity preferences, and social norms that occur during the normal developmental transition from childhood into adolescence. This study examines possible age-related differences in physical activity correlates using the Children’s Physical Activity Correlates Scale (CPAC). The Children’s Physical Activity Questionnaire (PAQ) was used to measure typical levels of PA. Results indicate high school youth had lower levels of PA and lower levels on the psychosocial correlates than middle school youth. Parental influence accounted for ~ 15% of the variance in PA while the predisposing factors (perceived competence, attraction to PA) accounted for 20% and 17% of the variance for middle and high school students, respectively. CPAC has similar predictive validity across the age range. The CPAC scale offers potential to help understand factors that influence physical activity behavior during the transition from childhood into adolescence.