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MinKyoung Song, Dianna D. Carroll, Sarah M. Lee and Janet E. Fulton

Background:

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines recommend youth participate in a variety of physical activities; however, few nationally representative studies describe the types and variety of youth activity. This study assessed the most frequently reported types and variety of activities among U.S. high school students, and examined the association between variety and meeting the 2008 Guidelines for aerobic activity (aerobic guideline).

Methods:

We analyzed data on 8628 U.S. high school students in grades 9–12 from the 2010 National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey. Types of physical activity were assessed by identifying which activities each student reported in the past 7 days. Variety was assessed by the total number of different activities each student reported. Percentage (95% CI) of students who reported engaging in each activity was assessed. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between variety and meeting the aerobic guideline.

Results:

Walking was the most frequently reported activity among U.S. high school students. On average, students reported participating in 6 different activities. Variety was positively associated with meeting the aerobic guideline.

Conclusions:

These findings support encouraging youth to participate in many physical activities and may be useful for developing interventions that focus on the most prevalent activities.

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MinKyoung Song, Robert F. Corwyn, Robert H. Bradley and Julie C. Lumeng

Background: Temperament activity level can serve as a proxy for nondeliberate activity and an important part of overall energy expenditure. However, little is known about any association between temperament activity level and children’s levels of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity. We examined whether temperament activity level in young children is associated with moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity later in childhood and midadolescence. We also assessed if parenting behaviors moderate any association. Methods: Data were obtained from 799 children and their mothers involved in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Growth curve analyses were used to examine the relationships over time, controlling for child and parent characteristics. Results: High temperament activity level at age 4.5 was associated with higher moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity at age 9 (β = 5.15; SE =2.47; P < .001). The association became no longer significant after 10.2 years of age. The association was moderated by parental support for physical activity (β = −2.56; SE = 1.01; P = .01). Conclusions: Low temperament activity level in early childhood was a risk factor for low physical activity in later childhood and adolescence. Parental support for physical activity may be beneficial for children whose temperament activity level is low.