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Gregory M. Dominick, Ruth Saunders and Kelli Kenison

Background:

An important influence on youth physical activity (PA) is the provision of instrumental social support (ISS) by parents and other adults. Limited research exists about factors that influence parental provision of ISS for youth PA. Following a theory-based conceptual model, a measure for assessing ISS for PA was developed from elicitation survey results. The purpose of this paper is to describe elicitation methodology and ISS instrument development.

Methods:

Parents (N = 37) of children (5–14 years) responded to open-ended questions assessing modal beliefs about their provision of ISS for PA regarding a) positive/negative beliefs, b) normative beliefs, c) self-efficacy (SE), and d) ISS for PA. Data were analyzed qualitatively.

Results:

ISS behaviors reported by parents include enroll/sign-up youth for structured PA, paying expenses for participation in structured/unstructured PA, and providing transportation for unstructured/structured PA. Child health and fitness (benefits), and time/scheduling conflicts (barriers) were most frequently reported behavioral beliefs. Family members were most frequently identified as specific referents for normative beliefs. Final instrument scales yielded moderately high internal consistency reliability scores.

Conclusions:

When developing scales not previously assessed in a population, eliciting modal beliefs about a behavior is an important formative step in instrument development.

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Philip J. Troped, Ruth P. Saunders and Russell R. Pate

Background:

Physical activity research on trails is limited. We compared rail-trail users and nonusers on demographics, physical activity, and barriers/concerns about trail use; and described use among men and women.

Methods:

Four hundred thirteen adults completed a physical activity survey during fall 1998. Chi-square statistics and t-tests were used to compare trail users to nonusers, and men and women on trail use.

Results:

More trail users (79%) performed recreational physical activity ≥ 3 d/wk, compared to nonusers (47%). Walking was the most common activity for trail users and nonusers. Both groups shared concerns about safe access to the trail and certain trail conditions. A higher percentage of female versus male users traveled to the trail by walking, walked on the trail, used the trail with a friend, and perceived that if the trail were not available their activity would decrease.

Conclusions:

Trail users perform more recreational physical activity than nonusers. Gender differences in trail use patterns should be considered in the design and promotion of trails.

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Jennifer L. Gay, Marsha Dowda, Ruth Saunders and Alexandra Evans

Background:

Children in residential children’s homes (RCH) may be at increased risk for physical inactivity due to decreased access to opportunities for activity. Little is known about environmental determinants of physical activity for children in RCH.

Methods:

Thirty-minute blocks of MVPA and Total METs were measured using the 3-Day Physical Activity Recall (3DPAR). A staff interview, based on the Structural Ecologic Model of Health Behavior, assessed physical activity opportunities, structures, characteristics, policies, and social environment. Wilcoxon 2-sample tests were used to examine differences in environment by location and presence of a recreation director. Mixed model ANOVAs assessed the differences in child level activity by environmental variables.

Results:

There were significant correlations between opportunities and characteristics of physical activity, facilities, and equipment with total METS for children. Children in homes with a recreation director and homes in rural locations reported more physical activity. Only rural location had a significant effect on physical activity. Presence of a recreation director was significant in several models.

Conclusions:

Rural location may be conducive for increased physical activity in children at RCH. Employing a recreation director or other trained personnel may be an important policy determinant of physical activity for children.

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Sharon Taverno Ross, Marsha Dowda, Ruth Saunders and Russell Pate

Little is known about how screen-based sedentary behavior at home and in preschool influences children’s health and activity patterns. The current study examined the individual and cumulative influence of TV viewing at home and in preschool on children’s physical activity (PA) and weight status. Children (n = 339) attending 16 preschools in South Carolina were grouped into high and low TV groups based on parent report of children’s TV viewing at home and director report of TV use/rules in preschool. T-tests and mixed model ANOVAs examined differences in weight status and PA (min/hr) by high and low TV groups. Results revealed that children who were classified as High TV both at home and in preschool had significantly lower levels of moderate-to-vigorous PA compared with their Low TV counterparts (8.3 (0.3) min/hr vs. 7.6 (0.2) min/hr, p < .05). However, there were no significant differences in weight status or physical activity between the high and low TV groups at home or in preschool when examined individually. These findings demonstrate the importance of total environmental TV exposure on preschooler’s PA. Longitudinal and observational research to assess preschoolers’ cumulative screen-based sedentary behavior and its relationship with PA and weight status is needed.

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Cheryl Der Ananian, Sara Wilcox, Ken Watkins, Ruth P. Saunders and Alexandra E. Evans

Most people with arthritis are not regularly active. Understanding what factors influence exercise is essential for designing programs to increase participation. The objective of this study was to examine the correlates of exercise in people with arthritis. Using a cross-sectional design, sociodemographic, health-related, and psychosocial variables were collected from community-dwelling individuals with arthritis (N = 141). Associations with exercise level were examined with bivariate statistics (ANOVAs, chi-squares) and logistic-regression analyses. Exercisers were less likely than nonexercisers and insufficiently active people to report that arthritis negatively affected their physical and social functioning, and they reported more positive affect and greater self-efficacy (p < .05). Exercisers also reported less pain than nonexercisers (p < .05). In multiple logistic-regression analyses, self-efficacy and physical limitations remained independent predictors of exercise. The results suggest the need to target exercise self-efficacy when designing exercise interventions. Results also suggest the need to tailor exercise programs to individuals’ physical limitations.

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Stewart G. Trost, Angela M. Morgan, Ruth Saunders, Gwen Felton, Dianne S. Ward and Russell R. Pate

This study evaluated 4th-grade students’ understanding of the concept of physical activity and assessed the effects of two interventions to enhance the students’ understanding of this concept. Students were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: the video group (n = 40) watched a 5-min video describing physical activity; the verbal group (n = 42) listened to a generic description of physical activity; the control group received no instruction (n = 45). Students completed a 17-item checklist testing their understanding of the concept of physical activity. Compared to controls, students in the verbal and video group demonstrated significantly higher checklist scores, with the video group scoring significantly higher than the verbal group. Only 35.6% of the controls, compared to 52.4% and 70.0% of the verbal and video groups respectively, could classify ≥ 15 of the checklist items correctly. The results indicate that, without intervention, children have a limited understanding of the concept of physical activity.

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Alise E. Ott, Russell R. Pate, Stewart G. Trost, Dianne S. Ward and Ruth Saunders

In order to effectively measure the physical activity of children, objective monitoring devices must be able to quantify the intermittent and nonlinear movement of free play. The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of the Computer Science and Applications (CSA) uniaxial accelerometer and the TriTrac-R3D triaxial accelerometer with respect to their ability to measure 8 “free-play” activities of different intensity. The activities ranged from light to very vigorous in intensity and included activities such as throwing and catching, hopscotch, and basketball. Twenty-eight children, ages 9 to 11, wore a CSA and a heart rate monitor while performing the activities. Sixteen children also wore a Tritrac. Counts from the CSA, Tritrac, and heart rates corresponding to the last 3 min of the 5 min spent at each activity were averaged and used in correlation analyses. Across all 8 activities, Tritrac counts were significantly correlated with predicted MET level (r = 0.69) and heart rate (r = 0.73). Correlations between CSA output, predicted MET level (0.43), and heart rate (0.64) were also significant but were lower than those observed for the Tritrac. These data indicate that accelerometers are an appropriate methodology for measuring children’s free-play physical activities.

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Marsha Dowda, Ruth P. Saunders, Lauren Hastings, Jennifer M. Gay and Alexandra E. Evans

Purpose:

Our goal was to describe the types of physical activities and sedentary pursuits reported by children living in residential children’s homes and make comparisons by age, gender, and race/ethnic groups.

Methods:

Participants were 263 children (52% male, 40% 11 to 14 years old, 53% White, 23% African American, and 24% other race/ethnic groups) in 23 residential children’s homes in North and South Carolina. The median length of stay in the homes was 6 months. Physical activities and sedentary pursuits were reported over a 3-day period using the 3-Day Physical Activity Recall (3DPAR).

Results:

Boys reported participating in more basketball (P ≤ .001), football (P ≤ .001), and videogames or surfing the net (P ≤ .001) than did girls. Girls reported more cheerleading, social dance, and homework than did boys (P values ≤ .01). There were few race differences. Fewer older children reported participation in physical education classes, and more reported working part-time than younger children (P values ≤ .001).

Conclusions:

Children in residential homes appear to participate in activities that are similar to children living with their parents, with boys reporting more team activities and girls reporting more individual activities. However, children in residential children’s homes may participate in some physical activities for shorter periods of time than children living with their parents.

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Michelle Renee Umstattd, Rob Motl, Sara Wilcox, Ruth Saunders and Melissa Watford

Background:

Theoretically, self-regulatory strategies (eg, goal setting, self-monitoring) are an important influence of behavior change, but very little research has examined the relationship between self-regulation and physical activity (PA) behavior. Petosa’s (1993) 43-item PA self-regulation scale (PASR-43) affords the opportunity for studying this construct in the context of PA; however the PASR-43 has not been tested for structural aspects of validity. Therefore, this study examines the structural validity of the PASR-43 in older adults.

Methods:

The structural validity of the PASR-43 was tested in a large sample of older adults from North and South Carolina and Ohio (N = 460) using maximum likelihood estimation and confirmatory factor analysis in AMOS 5.0.

Results:

The original 6-factor model for the PASR-43 scale did not represent an acceptable fit to the data (x2 = 4732.25, df = 845, P < .0001, RMSEA = 0.10, NNFI = 0.67, CFI = 0.71). Based on a post hoc specification search, iterative model modifications resulted in a 12-item PA self-regulation scale (PASR-12) that represented an excellent fit to the data (x2 = 70.75, df = 39, P = .001, RMSEA = 0.04, NNFI = 0.98, CFI = 0.99).

Conclusions:

The PASR-12 provides a concise and valid measure of PA self-regulation for use with older adults. Future studies should cross-validate the PASR-12 and examine invariance across time and between age, ethnic, gender, and geographical groups.

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R. Glenn Weaver, Michael W. Beets, Ruth P. Saunders and Aaron Beighle

Background:

The YMCA of USA recently adopted Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards for their summerday- camps (SDCs). Standards call for staff to exhibit HEPA promoting behaviors while eliminating HEPA discouraging behaviors. No studies have evaluated training programs to influence policy specified staff behaviors and related changes in child activity in SDCs.

Method:

Four YMCA SDCs serving approximately 800 children/week participated in this no control group pre/post pilot study. Professional development training founded in the 5 Ms (Mission, Model, Manage, Monitor, Maximize) and LET US Play principles (lines; elimination; team size; uninvolved staff/kids; and space, equipment, and rules) was delivered to staff. Outcomes were staff promotion behaviors and child activity assessed via systematic observation instruments.

Results:

Twelve of 17 HEPA staff behaviors changed in the appropriate direction from baseline to postassessment with 5 behaviors reaching statistically significant changes. The percentage of girls and boys observed in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity increased from 15.3% to 18.3% (P > .05) and 17.9% to 21.2%, whereas sedentary behavior decreased from 66.8% to 59.8% and 62.3% to 53.6%, respectively.

Conclusion:

Evidence suggests that the professional development training designed to assist SDCs to meet the HEPA Standards can lead to important changes in staff behaviors and children’s physical activity.