To better understand and promote youth physical activity (PA) it is important to determine settings and characteristics that promote or influence behavior. This study evaluated the utility of a multi-method approach (accelerometers plus direct observation) to better understand youth PA at recess. A total of 100 third through fifth grade children (52 males and 48 females) wore an Actigraph accelerometer during school recess for five consecutive days in both Fall and Spring. Trained observers coded PA behaviors at the same recess periods using the System for Observing Play and Leisure Activities (SOPLAY). Overall, gender comparisons based on both instruments indicated that boys were more active than girls. MVPA levels were higher during climbing/sliding activities (40–50%) and when the activity setting was supervised and equipped (30%). Both assessments indicated that boys were more active but the contextual data from the SOPLAY indicate that differences may vary according to the environmental context.
Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Gregory J. Welk, Pedro Silva, Mohammad Siahpush and Jennifer Huberty
Jennifer L. Huberty, Michael W. Beets, Aaron Beighle, Pedro F. Saint-Maurice and Greg Welk
The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of Ready for Recess, an elementary school recess intervention targeting staff training (ST) or providing recreational equipment (EQ) separately, and the combination (EQ+ST) on physical activity (PA).
Participants were children attending 1 of 12 elementary schools (grades 3rd–6th) included in the study. Separate analytical models were used to evaluate the effects of the intervention conditions on children’s accelerometry and direct observation derived PA measures.
Boys and girls were measured using accelerometry (n = 667). Boys in EQ+ST increased their MVPA by 14.1% while ST decreased their MVPA by –13.5%. Girls in ST decreased their MVPA by –11.4%. Neither boys nor girls in EQ increased their time spent in MVPA. A total of 523 (boys) and 559 (girls) observations were collected. For boys’ and girls’ sedentary and vigorous activity there were no significant main effects for treatment condition, time, or treatment condition-by-time effects.
Environmental modifications are only as strong as the staff that implements them. Supervision, if not interactive, may be detrimental to PA participation, especially in girls. Research related to staff training for encouragement and promotion of PA coupled with appropriate use of equipment during recess is warranted.
Jung-Min Lee, Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Youngwon Kim, Glenn A. Gaesser and Gregory Welk
The assessment of physical activity (PA) and energy expenditure (EE) in youth is complicated by inherent variability in growth and maturation during childhood and adolescence. This study provides descriptive summaries of the EE of a diverse range of activities in children ages 7 to 13.
A sample of 105 7- to 13-year-old children (boys: 57%, girls: 43%, and Age: 9.9 ± 1.9) performed a series of 12 activities from a pool of 24 activities while being monitored with an indirect calorimetry system.
Across physical activities, averages of VO2 ml·kg·min-1, VO2 L·min-1, EE, and METs ranged from 3.3 to 53.7 ml·kg·min-1, from 0.15 to 3.2 L·min-1, from 0.7 to 15.9 kcal·min-1, 1.5 MET to 7.8 MET, respectively.
The energy costs of the activities varied by age, sex, and BMI status reinforcing the need to consider adjustments when examining the relative intensity of PA in youth.
Yang Bai, Kelly Allums-Featherston, Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Gregory J. Welk and Norma Candelaria
Purpose: The consensus is that physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) are independent behaviors, but past findings suggest that they may be influenced by common underlying factors. To clarify this issue, we examined associations between enjoyment of PA and participation in both PA and SB in a large sample of 4th- to 12th-grade US youth. Methods: A total of 18,930 students from 187 schools completed the youth activity profile, a self-report 15-item survey that assesses time spent in PA and SB in school and home settings. Two additional items captured enjoyment of PA and physical education. Two-way (gender × enjoyment and grade × enjoyment) mixed analysis of variances were conducted. Results: Pearson correlation results revealed a positive relationship between enjoyment and PA (r = .38, P < .05) and an inverse correlation between enjoyment and SB (r = −.23, P < .05). Statistically significant main effects of enjoyment were found in the 2-way analysis of variance for both PA and SB. The simple main effect from analysis of variance indicated students with high enjoyment of PA reported higher levels of PA and lower levels of SB compared with students reporting moderate or low levels of enjoyment. Conclusion: The results provide new insights related to the relevance of enjoyment as a common underlying variable influencing both PA and SB across gender and grade levels.
Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Greg Welk, Michelle A. Ihmels and Julia Richards Krapfl
The System for Observing Play and Leisure Activities (SOPLAY) is a direct observation instrument designed to assess group physical activity and environmental contexts. The purpose of this study was to test the convergent validity of the SOPLAY using temporally matched data from an accelerometry-based activity monitor.
Accelerometry-based physical activity data were obtained from 160 elementary school children from 9 after-school activity programs. SOPLAY coding was used to directly observe physical activity during these sessions. Analyses evaluated agreement between the monitored and observed physical activity behavior by comparing the percent of youth engaging in physical activity with the 2 assessments.
Agreement varied widely depending on the way the SOPLAY codes were interpreted. Estimates from SOPLAY were significantly higher than accelerometer PA levels when codes of walking and vigorous were used (in combination) to reflect participation in moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA). Estimates were similar when only SOPLAY codes of vigorous were used to define MVPA (Difference = 1.33 ± 22.06%).
SOPLAY codes of walking corresponded well with estimates of Light intensity PA. Observations provide valid indicators of MVPA if coding is based on the percentage of youth classified as “vigorous.”
Ryan D. Burns, James C. Hannon, Timothy A. Brusseau, Patricia A. Eisenman, Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Greg J. Welk and Matthew T. Mahar
Cardiorespiratory endurance is a component of health-related fitness. FITNESSGRAM recommends the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) or One mile Run/Walk (1MRW) to assess cardiorespiratory endurance by estimating VO2 Peak. No research has cross-validated prediction models from both PACER and 1MRW, including the New PACER Model and PACER-Mile Equivalent (PACER-MEQ) using current standards. The purpose of this study was to cross-validate prediction models from PACER and 1MRW against measured VO2 Peak in adolescents. Cardiorespiratory endurance data were collected on 90 adolescents aged 13–16 years (Mean = 14.7 ± 1.3 years; 32 girls, 52 boys) who completed the PACER and 1MRW in addition to a laboratory maximal treadmill test to measure VO2 Peak. Multiple correlations among various models with measured VO2 Peak were considered moderately strong (R = .74–0.78), and prediction error (RMSE) ranged from 5.95 ml·kg-1, min-1 to 8.27 ml·kg-1.min-1. Criterion-referenced agreement into FITNESSGRAM’s Healthy Fitness Zones was considered fair-to-good among models (Kappa = 0.31–0.62; Agreement = 75.5–89.9%; F = 0.08–0.65). In conclusion, prediction models demonstrated moderately strong linear relationships with measured VO2 Peak, fair prediction error, and fair-to-good criterion referenced agreement with measured VO2 Peak into FITNESSGRAM’s Healthy Fitness Zones.