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Kelly R. Evenson, Brian Neelon, Sarah C. Ball, Amber Vaughn and Dianne S. Ward

Background:

Despite the growing interest in active (ie, nonmotorized) travel to and from school, few studies have explored the measurement properties to assess active travel. We evaluated the criterion validity and test–retest reliability of a questionnaire with a sample of young schoolchildren to assess travel to and from school, including mode, travel companion, and destination after school.

Methods:

To assess test–retest reliability, 54 children age 8 to 11 years completed a travel survey on 2 consecutive school days. To assess criterion validity, 28 children age 8 to 10 years and their parents completed a travel survey on 5 consecutive weekdays.

Results:

test–retest reliability of all questions indicated substantial agreement. The questions on mode of transport, where you will go after school, and how you will get there also displayed substantial agreement between parental and child reports.

Conclusions:

For this population, a questionnaire completed by school-age children to assess travel to and from school, including mode, travel companion, and destination after school, was reliably collected and indicated validity for most items when compared with parental reports.

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Stephanie Mazzucca, Derek Hales, Kelly R. Evenson, Alice Ammerman, Deborah F. Tate, Diane C. Berry and Dianne S. Ward

Background: Physical activity has many benefits for young children’s health and overall development, but few studies have investigated how early care and education centers allot time for physical activity, along with measured individual physical activity levels for indoor/outdoor activities during a typical day. Methods: Fifty early care and education centers in central North Carolina participated in 4 full-day observations, and 559 children aged 3–5 years within centers wore accelerometers assessing physical activity during observation days. Observation and physical activity data were linked and analyzed for associations between child activity and type of classroom activity. Results: Children averaged 51 (13) minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity and 99 (18) minutes per day of light physical activity while in child care. Children averaged 6 (10) and 10 (13) minutes per day of observed outdoor and indoor daily teacher-led physical activity, respectively. Outdoor time averaged 67 (49) minutes per day, and physical activity levels were higher during outdoor time than during common indoor activities (center time, circle time, and TV time). Conclusions: Physical activity levels varied between indoor and outdoor class activities. Policy and program-related efforts to increase physical activity in preschoolers should consider these patterns to leverage opportunities to optimize physical activity within early care and education centers.

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Deborah A. Cohen, Claude Setodji, Kelly R. Evenson, Phillip Ward, Sandra Lapham, Amy Hillier and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

The Systematic Observation of Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) was designed to estimate the number and characteristics of people using neighborhood parks by assessing them 4 times/day, 7 days/week. We tested whether this schedule was adequate and determined the minimum number of observations necessary to provide a robust estimate of park user characteristics and their physical activity levels.

Methods:

We conducted observations every hour for 14 hours per day during 1 summer and 1 autumn week in 10 urban neighborhood parks: 2 each in Los Angeles, CA; Albuquerque, NM; Columbus, OH; Durham, NC; and Philadelphia, PA. We counted park users by gender, age group, apparent race/ethnicity, and activity level. We used a standardized Cronbach’s alpha and intraclass correlation coefficients to test the reliability of using fewer observations.

Results:

We observed 76,632 individuals, an average of 547/park/day (range 155−786). Interobserver reliability ranged from 0.80 to 0.99. Obtaining a robust estimate of park user characteristics and their physical activity required a schedule of 4 days/week, 4 times/day.

Conclusion:

An abbreviated schedule of SOPARC was sufficient for estimating park use, park user characteristics, and physical activity. Applying these observation methods can augment physical activity surveillance.

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Ron Courson, Harris Patel, Lenny Navitskis, Fred Reifsteck and Kelly Ward

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Lowri C. Edwards, Richard Tyler, Dylan Blain, Anna Bryant, Neil Canham, Lauren Carter-Davies, Cain Clark, Tim Evans, Ceri Greenall, Julie Hobday, Anwen Jones, Marianne Mannello, Emily Marchant, Maggie Miller, Graham Moore, Kelly Morgan, Sarah Nicholls, Chris Roberts, Michael Sheldrick, Karen Thompson, Nalda Wainwright, Malcolm Ward, Simon Williams and Gareth Stratton