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Michael J. Duncan, Lorayne Woodfield, Yahya Al-Nakeeb and Alan M. Nevill

The purpose of this study was to compare physical activity levels between white and South Asian children in the UK. The data were obtained from 606, 11–14 year old schoolchildren (397 white; 209 Asian). Physical activity was assessed using the ‘four by one day’ recall questionnaire from which the time spent in moderate and vigorous physical activity was calculated. Boys were significantly more active than girls (p = .0001), and white children reported significantly greater physical activity than south Asian children (p = .001). Mean ± SD of time spent in moderate and vigorous activity was 90.2 ± 65.4 mins and 68.2 ± 49.3 mins for white and south Asian children and 103.5 ± 63.4 mins and 65.6 ± 53.5 mins for boys and girls respectively. These findings indicate that south Asian children are significantly less active than their white peers and there may be a need for specific interventions to target South Asian children particularly.

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Non-Eleri Thomas, Stephen-Mark Cooper, Simon P. Williams, Julien S. Baker and Bruce Davies

The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between aerobic fitness (AF), fatness, and coronary-heart-disease (CHD) risk factors in 12- to 13-year-olds. The data were obtained from 208 schoolchildren (100 boys; 108 girls) ages 12.9 ± 0.3 years. Measurements included AF, indices of obesity, blood pressure, blood lipids and lipoproteins, fibrinogen, homocysteine, and C-reactive protein. An inverse relationship was found between AF and fatness (p < .05). Fatness was related to a greater number of CHD risk factors than fitness was (p < .05). Further analysis revealed fatness to be an independent predictor of triglyceride and blood-pressure levels (p < .05). Our findings indicate that, for young people, fatness rather than fitness is independently related to CHD risk factors.

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Serge Berthoin, Georges Baquet, Fabienne Mantéca, Ghislaine Lensel-Corbeil and Michel Gerbeaux

A cross-sectional design was used to study the associations among sex, age, maximal aerobic speed (MAS), and running time to exhaustion at 100% of MAS (Tlim). The subjects were 1,448 schoolchildren (685 males and 763 females) ages 6 to 17 years. The MAS of males increased significantly (p < .001) from 6 (9.0 ± 0.8 km · h−1) to 17 years (14.1 ± 1.6 km · h−1). The MAS of females increased significantly (p < .001) from 6 (8.7 ± 0.6 km · h−1) to 12 years (10.7 ± 1.2 km · h−1), then remained relatively constant at approximately 11 km · h−1 between 12 and 17 years. Tlim increased significantly from 6 to 13 years for males and from 6 to 11 years for females, then remained relatively constant around 350 s for both males and females.

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Terence Dwyer, James F. Sallis, Leigh Blizzard, Ross Lazarus and Kimberlie Dean

The objective of this study was to examine the association of scholastic performance with physical activity and fitness of children. To do so, school ratings of scholastic ability on a five-point scale for a nationally representative sample of 7,961 Australian schoolchildren aged 7–15 years were compared with physical activity and fitness measurements. Consistently across age and sex groups, the ratings were significantly correlated with questionnaire measures of physical activity and with performance on the 1.6-kilometer run, sit-ups and push-ups challenges, 50-meter sprint, and standing long jump. There were no significant associations for physical work capacity at a heart rate of 170 (PWC170). The results are concordant with the hypothesis that physical activity enhances academic performance, but the cross-sectional nature of the observations limits causal inference, and the disparity for PWC170 gives reason to question whether the associations were due to measurement bias or residual confounding.

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Jim Dollman, Kevin Norton and Graeme Tucker

The aim of this study was to compare urban and rural South Australian primary schoolchildren on measures of anthropometry, fitness, and environmental mediators of physical activity. The sample was comprised of 445 urban and 205 rural boys and 423 urban and 158 rural girls, all age 10–11 yrs at the time of testing. After controlling for socioeconomic status and ethnicity, rural girls and boys were faster over 1.6 k than their urban counterparts while rural girls were also faster over 50 m. Rural residence independently predicted participation in organized activity, increasing involvement in club sport, and decreasing involvement in school sport. Rural children reported a greater likelihood of participating in two or more physical education classes per week. It is evident that urban and rural South Australia differ in ways which impact on fitness and physical activity patterns of upper primary age children.

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Nikos Ntoumanis, Anne-Marte Pensgaard, Chris Martin and Katie Pipe

The purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth account of amotivation in compulsory school physical education by examining its major causes, the way it is displayed, and how it can be tackled. From an initial participant pool of 390 British schoolchildren ages 14 to 15 years, 21 of them (15 girls and 6 boys) were selected to participate in semi-structured interviews. They were categorized as being amotivated based on their responses to a questionnaire measuring motivation in physical education. Three main perceived causes of amotivation were identified in the interviews: learned helplessness beliefs, low need satisfaction, and contextual factors. Amotivation was mainly displayed by nonattendance, low involvement in the class, and low intention to be physically active after leaving school. Students’ suggestions for reducing amotivation focused on the enhancement of positive affect, need satisfaction, and structural/organizational changes. The findings are discussed in conjunction with contemporary motivation theories and models of amotivation.

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Sigurbjörn Árni Arngrímsson, Torarinn Sveinsson and Erlingur Jóhannsson

The purpose of this study was to validate an equation that has been used to predict peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) and, if invalid, to develop a new equation predicting VO2peak from performance on a cycle ergometer test. Forty-five 9- and 15-year-old children underwent a VO2peak test and were randomized into developmental (DEV) and cross-validation (C-V) groups. The equation under validation, which requires knowledge of resting energy expenditure (REE), underestimated VO2peak (p < .05), but once adjusted with a new parameter calculated in DEV, it cross-validated well (r YY′ = .98, SE = .18 L · min−1). The accuracy of a new prediction equation built in DEV, not using REE, was confirmed in C-V (r YY′ = .98, SE = .17 L · min−1) and the slope and intercept were not different from the line of identity (p < .05). VO2peak in schoolchildren can be predicted with good accuracy from an equation based on the whole sample [VO2peak′ = −1.5986 + 0.0115 · (maximal power output) + 0.0109 · (mass) + 0.1313 · (gender) + 0.0085 · (maximal heart rate)].

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Megan Babkes Stellino and Christina Sinclair

Thorough assessment of children’s physical activity is essential to efficacious interventions to reduce childhood obesity prevalence. The purpose of this study was to examine children’s recess physical activity (RPA) patterns of behavior using the Activities of Daily Living –Playground Participation (ADL-PP: Watkinson et al., 2001) instrument. ADL-PP-based RPA data from 3rd-5th grade schoolchildren (N = 444: 51% male, 23.6% overweight/obese) were analyzed to determine the number and specific activity patterns overall as well as according to gender and weightstatus. Patterns of RPA findings showed girls participated in a higher number of activities compared with boys who participated in more sport-related activities. A wide variety in the specific activities in which children engaged was found according to gender and weight-status. Examination of RPA, with the ADL-PP, extends the literature by providing new data relative to the variety and specific types of activities in which children choose to engage during discretionary times, such as recess.

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Tim Olds, Carol Ann Maher and Kate Ridley

Background:

Low physical activity has been associated with increased fatness and deceased fitness. This observational study aimed to describe the magnitude, composition, and time-distribution of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in Australian children.

Methods:

A total of 1132 10 to 13 year old schoolchildren completed a 24-h activity recall diary on 2 to 4 occasions. MVPA was defined as any activity requiring ≥3METs, including sport, play, active transport, chores, and other activities.

Results:

MVPA was higher in boys than girls (173 vs 140 min/day; P < .0001), higher on nonschool days than school days (166 vs 143 min/day; P < .0001), and decreased with age (9 min/day per year of age). MVPA consisted of structured sport (37%), active transport (26%), unstructured play (24%), and chores/miscellaneous activities (13%). Every hour of MVPA was associated with a reduction in screen time (26.5 min), non-screen-based sedentary pastimes (8 min), and sleep (5.5 min). The least active quartile of children were more likely to be girls (OR = 3.4), have higher screen time, and sleep more. From 4:00−6:30 PM on school days there were large differences in participation between high-active and low-active children.

Conclusion:

Findings suggest MVPA interventions should target girls, screen time and focus on the after-school period.

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Daniel P. Bailey, Louise A. Savory, Sarah J. Denton and Catherine J. Kerr

Background:

It is unclear whether cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is independently linked to cardiometabolic risk in children. This study investigated a) the association between CRF level and presence of cardiometabolic risk disorders using health-related cut points, and b) whether these associations were mediated by abdominal adiposity in children.

Methods:

This was a cross-sectional design study. Anthropometry, biochemical parameters and CRF were assessed in 147 schoolchildren (75 girls) aged 10 to 14 years. CRF was determined using a maximal cycle ergometer test. Children were classified as ‘fit’ or ‘unfit’ according to published thresholds. Logistic regression was used to investigate the odds of having individual and clustered cardiometabolic risk factors according to CRF level and whether abdominal adiposity mediated these associations.

Results:

Children classified as unfit had increased odds of presenting individual and clustered cardiometabolic risk factors (P < .05), but these associations no longer remained after adjusting for abdominal adiposity (P > .05).

Conclusions:

This study suggests that the association between CRF and cardiometabolic risk is mediated by abdominal adiposity in 10- to 14-year-old children and that abdominal adiposity may be a more important determinant of adverse cardiometabolic health in this age group.