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  • Author: Shreela V. Sharma x
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Katherine A. Skala, Andrew E. Springer, Shreela V. Sharma, Deanna M. Hoelscher and Steven H. Kelder

Background:

Physical education (PE) classes provide opportunities for children to be active. This study examined the associations between specific environmental characteristics (teacher characteristics; class size, duration and location; and lesson context) and elementary school-aged children’s moderate-to-vigorous activity (MVPA) during PE.

Methods:

Environmental characteristics and student activity levels were measured in 211 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade PE classes in 74 Texas public schools using SOFIT direct observation.

Results:

Students engaged in less than half their PE class time in MVPA (38%), while approximately 25% of class time was spent in classroom management. Percent time in MVPA was significantly higher in outdoor classes compared with indoors (41.4% vs. 36.1%, P = .037). Larger (P = .044) and longer (P = .001) classes were negatively associated with percentage of MVPA and positively correlated with time spent in management (P < .001).

Conclusions:

Findings suggest that children’s activity may be influenced by environmental factors such as class size, location, and lesson contexts. These findings hold important policy implications for PE class organization and the need for strategies that maximize children’s MVPA. Further research is needed to test the causal association of these factors with student MVPA.

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Shreela V. Sharma, Deanna M. Hoelscher, Steven H. Kelder, Pamela M. Diamond, R. Sue Day and Albert C. Hergenroeder

Background:

The purpose of this study was to identify pathways used by psychosocial factors to influence physical activity and bone health in middle-school girls.

Methods:

Baseline data from the Incorporating More Physical Activity and Calcium in Teens (IMPACT) study collected in 2001 to 2003 were used. IMPACT was a 1 1/2 years nutrition and physical activity intervention study designed to improve bone density in 717 middle-school girls in Texas. Structural Equations Modeling was used to examine the interrelationships and identify the direct and indirect pathways used by various psychosocial and environmental factors to influence physical activity and bone health.

Results:

Results show that physical activity self-efficacy and social support (friend, family engagement, and encouragement in physical activity) had a significant direct and indirect influence on physical activity with participation in sports teams as the mediator. Participation in sports teams had a direct effect on both physical activity (β= 0.20, P < .05) and bone health and (β=0.13, P < .05).

Conclusion:

The current study identified several direct and indirect pathways that psychosocial factors use to influence physical activity and bone health among adolescent girls. These findings are critical for the development of effective interventions for promoting bone health in this population.