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Lowri C. Edwards, Anna S. Bryant, Kevin Morgan, Stephen-Mark Cooper, Anwen M. Jones and Richard J. Keegan

Introduction: Despite increases in research and implementation, physical literacy continues to be largely misinterpreted by practitioners. The purpose of this study was to devise, implement, and evaluate a professional development program that works in a primary school environment to enhance their knowledge and operationalization of physical literacy. Methods: Following a 3-month needs assessment phase, data were collected from structured observations, reflections, and semistructured interviews with the teachers, before, during, and after an introductory workshop and 6-month physical literacy intervention. Thematic analysis was used to evaluate perceptions of program effectiveness. Results: The needs assessment phase identified notable differences between teachers’ classroom and physical education practice. Results of the physical literacy workshop and intervention detailed an increase in teachers’ knowledge of, and operationalization of, physical literacy. Discussion/Conclusions: Applying established principles of effective professional development in a contextually sensitive manner was viewed as effective in enhancing primary school teachers’ knowledge and practice regarding physical literacy.

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Jihoun An and Samuel R. Hodge

The purpose of this phenomenological inquiry was to explore the experiences and meaning of parental involvement in physical education from the perspectives of the parents of students with developmental disabilities. The stories of four mothers of elementary aged children (3 boys, 1 girl), two mothers and one couple (mother and father) of secondary-aged youth (1 girl, 2 boys) with developmental disabilities, were gathered by using interviews, photographs, school documents, and the researcher’s journal. Bronfenbrenner’s (2005) ecological system theory provided a conceptual framework to interpret the findings of this inquiry. Three themes emerged from thematic analysis: being an advocate for my child, understanding the big picture, and collaborative partnerships undeveloped in GPE. The findings lend additional support to the need for establishing collaborative partnerships in physical education between home and school environments (An & Goodwin, 2007; Tekin, 2011).

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Sarah A. Doolittle, Paul B. Rukavina, Weidong Li, Mara Manson and Angela Beale

Using the Social Ecological Constraints model, a qualitative multiple case study design was used to explore experienced and committed middle school physical education teachers’ perspectives on overweight and obese students (OWS), and how and why they acted to include OWS in physical education and physical activity opportunities in their school environments. Three themes emerged. 1) OWS are “the same, but different.” Teachers attempted to treat all students the same, but perceived variations among OWS’ participation in PE and related individual constraints. 2) Teachers’ concerns lead to individual goals and specific actions. Teachers identified specific goals and approaches to help individual OWS who needed extra attention. 3) OWS are a responsibility and challenge. Many of these teachers felt a responsibility to devote extra time and effort to help struggling OWS to succeed. These teachers avoided obesity bias, and exhibited beliefs and actions similar to a caring perspective.

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Heather Elizabeth Erwin

Background:

Physical activity behavior is an important aspect of overall health, and it is important to understand determinants of physical activity in order for children to accumulate the recommended levels. The ecological-systems theory describes the relationship between individuals and their contexts, suggesting that environment affects physical activity behaviors. Researchers should measure children’s access to physical activity to determine environmental influences. At the time of data collection, however, no reliable questionnaires had been created for measuring children’s access to physical activity.

Methods:

Students from grades 4 and 5 completed a physical activity environmental-access questionnaire on 2 occasions, approximately 7 to 10 days apart.

Results:

The questionnaire appeared appropriate for children age 9 to 12. The lowest reliability was found with items located in the school environment.

Conclusions:

This questionnaire is a suitable tool for examining children’s physical activity supports and inhibitors.

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Erica Thomas and Dominic Upton

Background:

Physical activity determinant studies now often include both environmental and sociocognitive factors but few of them acknowledge and explore the mechanisms underlying relevant environmental influences. This study explored environmental correlates of children’s self-reported physical activity and potential mediation through the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and habit strength.

Methods:

Six hundred and twenty-one pupils aged 9–11 years were recruited from 4 primary schools in the UK. TPB variables, habit strength and environmental variables were assessed at baseline. Self-reported physical activity was assessed 1 week later.

Results:

Mediation tests revealed that 43% of the association between convenient facilities and intention was mediated through subjective norms (17%) and habit (26%), while 15% of the association between convenient facilities and physical activity was mediated through habit strength alone. A significant direct effect of convenient facilities and resources in the home environment on physical activity was also found. The school environment was not significantly related to children’s physical activity intentions or behavior.

Conclusion:

The results suggest that the environment influences children’s physical activity both directly and indirectly and that habit strength seems to be the most important mediator for this association.

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Valter C. Barbosa Filho, Kelly Samara da Silva, Jorge Mota, Carmem Beck and Adair da Silva Lopes

Background:

Promoting physical activity (PA) in low- and middle-income countries is an important public health topic as well as a challenge for practice. This study aimed to assess the effect of a school-based intervention on different PA-related variables among students.

Methods:

This cluster-randomized-controlled trial included 548 students in the intervention group and 537 in the control group (11–18 years-old) from 6 schools in neighborhoods with low Human Development Index (0.170–0.491) in Fortaleza, Brazil. The intervention included strategies focused on training teachers, opportunities for PA in the school environment and health education. Variables measured at baseline and again at the 4-months follow-up included the weekly time in different types of moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), preference for PA during leisure-time, PA behavioral change stage and active commuting to school. Generalized linear models and binary logistic regressions were used.

Results:

An intervention effect was found by increasing the weekly time in MVPA (effect size = 0.17), popular games (effect size = 0.35), and the amount of PA per week (effect size = 0.27) among students (all P < .05).

Conclusions:

The intervention was effective in promoting improvements in some PA outcomes, but the changes were not sufficient to increase the proportion of those meeting PA recommendations.

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Andreia Nogueira Pizarro, Jasper Schipperijn, José Carlos Ribeiro, António Figueiredo, Jorge Mota and Maria Paula Santos

Background:

Identifying where children spend their activity-time may help define relevant domains for effective PA promotion and better understand the relation between PA and environment. Our study aimed to identify how boys and girls allocate their active time in the different domains.

Methods:

374 children (201 girls; mean age = 11.7 years) wore an accelerometer and a GPS for 7 days. PALMS software combined data, categorized nonsedentary time and bouts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Geographical information system allocated activity into 4 domains: school, leisure, transport and home.

Results:

Overall, a higher proportion of time in MVPA was found in the transport domain (45.5%), school (30.5%), leisure (21.3%), and home (2.7%). Gender differences were found for the proportion of time spent across domains. Girls (54.5%) had more MVPA than boys (35.2%) in the transport domain, whereas boys spent more MVPA time in school (37.0%) and leisure (24.9%) than girls (24.7% and 18.1, respectively).

Conclusions:

Interventions to increase transport behavior may be relevant for children’s MVPA. School is an important domain for boys PA, while for girls increasing the supportiveness of the school environment for PA should be a priority. Strategies should consider gender differences when targeting each domain.

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Ralph Maddison, Leila Pfaeffli Dale, Samantha Marsh, Allana G. LeBlanc and Melody Oliver

Background:

This brief report provides grades for the 2014 New Zealand Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. The Report Card presents a review of current evidence across 9 key indicators, including physical activity (PA), organized sport and free play, sedentary behavior, and community and government initiatives across New Zealand.

Methods:

Nationally representative survey data were collated by researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, between June and December 2013. The grade for each indicator is based on the percentage of children and youth meeting a defined benchmark: A is 81%−100%; B is 61%−80%; C is 41%−60%, D is 21%−40%; F is 0%−20%; INC is incomplete data.

Results:

Overall PA received a score of B, as did Organized Sport Participation and Active Play. PA participation in School Environment scored slightly less with a score of B-. Sedentary Behaviors, Family and Peers, and Community and Built Environment scored a grade of C. Active transportation received a score of C-. An inconclusive grade was given for the Government indicator due to a lack of established international criteria for assessment.

Conclusions:

PA participation in New Zealand is satisfactory, but could improve. However, sedentary behavior is high. Of particular concern is the age-related decline in PA participation, particularly among adolescent females, and the increase in sedentary behavior.

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Karen Hind, David Torgerson, Jim McKenna, Rebecca Ashby, Andy Daly-Smith, John Truscott, Heather MacKay and Andrew Jennings

Background:

Developing Interventions for Children’s Exercise (DICE) is an initiative aimed at determining effective schoolbased exercise programs. To assess feasibility, we conducted a pilot study of exercise sessions which varied in duration and frequency.

Methods:

Exercise interventions were delivered to Year 3 pupils (age 7–8 years; n = 73) in primary schools within Yorkshire, UK. Evaluations were conducted using focus group sessions, questionnaires and observations.

Results:

The study revealed positive aspects of all interventions, including favorable effects on children’s concentration during lessons and identified the value of incorporation of the DICE concept into curriculum lessons. Children appeared enthused and reported well-being and enjoyment. Areas requiring attention were the need for appropriate timetabling of sessions and ensuring the availability of space.

Conclusion:

The concept and sessions were well-accepted by teachers who confirmed their full support of any future implementation There appears to be potential for the encouragement and empowerment of teachers to support physical activity and healthy school environments, and to take an interest in the health of their pupils. Ultimately, these findings should assist in the design of successful exercise interventions in the school setting.

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Michael B. Edwards, Michael A. Kanters and Jason N. Bocarro

Background:

This study’s purpose was to assess the opportunities for North Carolina adolescents to be physically active in extracurricular middle school environments and to compare opportunities across community types.

Methods:

Data were analyzed based on the results of an electronic questionnaire distributed to a sample of 431 schools with a response rate of 75.4% (N = 325).

Results:

Nearly all schools offered interscholastic sports while fewer than half offered intramurals or noncompetitive activities to students. “Open gym” was offered at only 35% of schools, while 24% of schools offered extracurricular activities to students with disabilities. Overall, 43.4% of schools offered special transportation to students who participated in some extracurricular physical activities. Schools in rural areas generally offered fewer programs and had fewer supports than schools located in more urbanized areas. Over two-thirds of rural schools offered no extracurricular programs other than interscholastic sports.

Conclusions:

Schools can be important settings for physical activity. North Carolina’s middle schools and its rural schools in particular, are falling short in efforts to provide extracurricular physical activity programming recommended by researchers and policy groups.1−6 Lower accessibility to extracurricular physical activities may partially contribute to higher levels of physical inactivity found in the state.