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School Physical Education in the Post-Report Era: An Analysis from Public Health

Stewart G. Trost

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Use of Physical Activity Self-Management Strategies by High School Students

Stewart G. Trost and Jan Hutley

Teaching adolescents to use self-management strategies may be an effective approach to promoting lifelong physical activity (PA). However, the extent to which adolescents use self-management strategies and their impact on current PA have not been studied previously. The aims of this study were 1) to describe the prevalence of self-management strategy use in adolescents; and 2) to determine relationships between self-management strategy use, PA self-efficacy, and PA participation. 197 students completed questionnaires measuring use of self-management strategies, self-efficacy, and PA behavior. The most prevalent self-management strategies (>30%) were thinking about the benefits of PA, making PA more enjoyable, choosing activities that are convenient, setting aside time to do PA, and setting goals to do PA. Fewer than 10% reported rewarding oneself for PA, writing planned activities in a book or calendar, and keeping charts of PA. Use of self-management strategies was associated with increased self-efficacy (r = .47, p < .001) and higher levels of PA (r = .34 p < .001). A 1-unit difference in self-management strategy scores was associated with a ~fourfold increase in the probability of being active (OR = 3.7, 95% CI = 1.8-7.4). Although strongly associated with PA, a relatively small percentage of adolescents routinely use self-management strategies.

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Physical Activity Patterns of Singaporean Adolescents

Kok Sonk Lee and Stewart G. Trost

The purpose of this study was to document the level of physical activity and sedentary behavior in a representative sample of Singaporean adolescents. A random sample of 1,827 secondary school students from six secondary schools (929 boys, 898 girls, mean age 14.9 ± 1.2 yr) completed the Three-Day Physical Activity Recall (3DPAR) self-report instrument. Approximately 63% of Singaporean high school students met current guidelines requiring 60 min of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. Just over half (51.6%) met the guideline calling for regular vigorous physical activity. Across all grade levels, boys were consistently more active than girls. More than 70% of Singaporean high school students exceeded the recommended 2 hours per day of electronic media use. Collectively, these findings suggest that a significant proportion of Singaporean adolescents are not sufficiently active and are in need of programs to promote physical activity and decrease sedentary behavior.

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The Effects of a Goal Setting Intervention on Aerobic Fitness in Middle School Students

Samantha M. McDonald and Stewart G. Trost


This study evaluated the effects of a goal setting intervention on aerobic fitness (AF) in 6th to 8th grade students.


Students at the intervention school received a lesson on SMART goal setting. Students in the comparison school served as a measurement-only group. AF was assessed via the PACER multistage shuttle run test pre and post intervention. Between-group differences for change in AF were assessed using a RM ANCOVA.


A significant group by time interaction was observed for PACER performance, F(1,263) = 39.9, p < .0001. Intervention students increased PACER performance from 40.6 to 45.9 laps, while comparison students exhibited a decline from 30.2 to 23.4 laps. Intervention students were 10 times as likely as those in the comparison school to maintain Healthy Fitness Zone status or progress from Needs Improvement Zone to Healthy Fitness Zone.


Educating middle school students about SMART goal setting may be an effective strategy for improving aerobic fitness.

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Student Physical Activity Levels during a Season of Sport Education

Peter A. Hastie and Stewart G. Trost

The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which sport education can provide students with sufficient opportunities for developing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Nineteen seventh-grade boys (average age = 12.9 yrs.) participated in a 22-lesson season of floor hockey. For all students (both higher and lower skilled), students averaged a total of 31.6 min of MVPA during the season, or 63.2% of lesson time. Further, there was no significant difference according to skill level {33.4 min (Higher) vs. 30.4 min (Lower), nor were there any significant differences in MVPA levels across the phases of the season.

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Feasibility and Efficacy of a “Move and Learn” Physical Activity Curriculum in Preschool Children

Stewart G. Trost, Bronwyn Fees, and David Dzewaltowski


This study evaluated the effect of a “move and learn” curriculum on physical activity (PA) in 3- to 5-year-olds attending a half-day preschool program.


Classrooms were randomized to receive an 8-week move and learn program or complete their usual curriculum. In intervention classes, opportunities for PA were integrated into all aspects of the preschool curriculum, including math, science, language arts, and nutrition education. Changes in PA were measured objectively using accelerometry and direct observation.


At the completion of the 8-week intervention, children completing the move and learn curriculum exhibited significantly higher levels of classroom moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) than children completing their usual curriculum. Significant differences were also noted for classroom VPA over the final 2 weeks.


The results suggest that integrating movement experiences into an existing early childhood curriculum is feasible and a potentially effective strategy for promoting PA in preschool children.

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Developmental Trends in the Energy Cost of Physical Activities Performed by Youth

Stewart G. Trost, Christopher C. Drovandi, and Karin Pfeiffer


Published energy cost data for children and adolescents are lacking. The purpose of this study was to measure and describe developmental trends in the energy cost of 12 physical activities commonly performed by youth.


A mixed age cohort of 209 participants completed 12 standardized activity trials on 4 occasions over a 3-year period (baseline, 12-months, 24-months, and 36-months) while wearing a portable indirect calorimeter. Bayesian hierarchical regression was used to link growth curves from each age cohort into a single curve describing developmental trends in energy cost from age 6 to 18 years.


For sedentary and light-intensity household chores, YOUTH METs (METy) remained stable or declined with age. In contrast, METy values associated with brisk walking, running, basketball, and dance increased with age.


The reported energy costs for specific activities will contribute to efforts to update and expand the youth compendium.

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Feasibility and Efficacy of a Church-Based Intervention to Promote Physical Activity in Children

Stewart G. Trost, Rebecca Tang, and Paul D. Loprinzi


This study evaluated the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a church-based intervention to promote physical activity (PA) in children.


The study was conducted in 4 churches located in 2 large metropolitan areas and 2 regional towns in Kansas. Churches in the intervention condition implemented the “Shining Like Stars” physical activity curriculum module during their regularly scheduled Sunday school classes. Churches in the control condition delivered the same content without integrating physical activity into the lessons. In addition to the curriculum, the intervention churches completed a series of weekly family devotional activities designed to promote parental support for PA and increase PA outside of Sunday school.


Children completing the Shining Like Stars curriculum exhibited significantly greater amounts of MVPA than those in the control condition (20 steps/min vs. 7 steps/min). No intervention effects were observed for PA levels outside of Sunday school or parental support for PA; however, relative to controls, children in the intervention churches did exhibit a significant reduction in screen time.


The findings confirm that the integration of physical activity into Sunday school is feasible and a potentially effective strategy for promoting PA in young children.

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Calibration of the Biotrainer Pro Activity Monitor in Children

Gregory J. Welk, Joey C. Eisenmann, Jodee Schaben, Stewart G. Trost, and Darren Dale

The unique physical and movement characteristics of children necessitate the development of accelerometer equations and cut points that are population specific. The purpose of this study is to develop an ecologically valid cut point for the Biotrainer Pro monitor that reflects a threshold for moderate-intensity physical activity in elementary school children. A sample of 30 children (ages 8−12) wore a Biotrainer monitor while completing a series of 7 movement tasks (calibration phase) and while participating in an organized group activity (cross-validation phase). Videotapes from each session were processed using a computerized direct-observation technique to provide a criterion measure of physical activity. Analyses involved the use of mixed-model regression and receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves. The results indicated that a cut point of 4 counts/min provides the optimal balance between the related needs for sensitivity (accurately detecting activity) and specificity (limiting misclassification of activity as inactivity). Results with the cross-validation data demonstrated that this value yielded the best overall kappa (.58) and a high classification agreement (84%) for activity determination. The specificity of 93% demonstrates that the proposed cut point can accurately detect activity; however, the lower sensitivity value of 61% suggests that some minutes of activity might be incorrectly classified as inactivity. The cut point of 4 counts/min provides an ecologically valid cut point to capture physical activity in children using the Biotrainer Pro activity monitor.

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Validity of the Previous Day Physical Activity Recall (PDPAR) in Fifth-Grade Children

Stewart G. Trost, Dianne S. Ward, Ben McGraw, and Russell R. Pate

This study evaluated the validity of the Previous Day Physical Activity Recall (PDPAR) self-report instrument in quantifying after-school physical activity behavior in fifth-grade children. Thirty-eight fifth-grade students (mean age, 10.8 ± 0.1; 52.6% female; 26.3% African American) from two urban elementary schools completed the PDPAR after wearing a CSA WAM 7164 accelerometer for a day. The mean within-subject correlation between self-reported MET level and total counts for each 30-min block was 0.57 (95% C.I., 0.51–0.62). Self-reported mean MET level during the after-school period and the number of 30-min blocks with activity rated at ≥ 6 METs were significantly correlated with the CSA outcome variables. Validity coefficients for these variables ranged from 0.35 to 0.43 (p < .05). Correlations between the number of 30-min blocks with activity rated at ≥ 3 METs and the CSA variables were positive but failed to reach statistical significance (r = 0.19–0.23). The PDPAR provides moderately valid estimates of relative participation in vigorous activity and mean MET level in fifth-grade children. Caution should be exercised when using the PDPAR to quantify moderate physical activity in preadolescent children.