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Robert G. Weaver, Aaron Beighle, Heather Erwin, Michelle Whitfield, Michael W. Beets and James W. Hardin

for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) is a widely used DO tool that employs a focal child protocol to assess student activity levels, lesson context, and teacher behaviors during physical education lessons or exercise lessons. 15 This instrument was selected for use in this study to

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Thomas L. McKenzie, James F. Sallis and Philip R. Nader

This paper describes SOFIT (System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time), an observation instrument designed to assess variables associated with students’ activity levels and opportunities to become physically fit in physical education. SOFIT involves the direct observation of classes while simultaneously recording student physical activity levels, curriculum context variables, and teacher behavior. The paper reports the reliability, validity, and feasibility of using the instrument, as well as data from using SOFIT to assess 88 third- and fourth-grade classes.

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Roman P. Pope, Karen J. Coleman, Eugenia C. Gonzalez, Felix Barron and Edward M. Heath

This study was designed to validate the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT5) and a modified SOFIT scale (SOFIT6) for assessing activity levels in physical education (PE) classes. Participants were 56 third- to fifth-grade students from a predominantly (98%) Hispanic school. Inter-rater reliability, using intraclass correlations, for both SOFIT5 and SOFIT5 was r = .98. The correlation for the SOFIT5 with TriTrac was r = .60 (CI = .43–.734) and the correlation for the SOFIT6 with TriTrac was r = .68 (CI = .524–.804). A six-point SOFIT scale may be more sensitive to measuring variations in light and moderate physical activity during PE classes as compared to the standard five point SOFIT scale. This has important implications for using this observation system to estimate the effects of interventions for physical activity during PE classes.

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Zachary Wahl-Alexander and Craig A. Morehead

Background:

To date, studies examining physical activity (PA) levels have largely been dedicated to the school setting, while there is little known about the activity levels of children who participate in traditional or summer day camps.

Methods:

Participants were 83 11- to 12-year-old campers who partook in either Sport Education or traditional instruction at a large residential summer camp. All lessons were video recorded and coded using the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT), which categorizes PA levels as well as contextual characteristics.

Results:

Results indicated that campers who participated in Sport Education spent a higher percentage of time (61.6%) engaged in moderate to vigorous activity than campers in the traditional activity unit (42.2%). In addition, campers spent less time idly within Sport Education (27.9%), than its counterpart (39.5%).

Conclusions:

These findings indicate that utilizing the Sport Education model may provide campers with higher levels of PA within this context.

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Nicole J. Smith, Monica A.F. Lounsbery and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

Physical education (PE) is recommended as a source for physical activity (PA) and learning generalizable PA skills. Few studies have objectively examined high school PE, specifically its delivery, including PA, lesson contexts, and class gender composition.

Methods:

We used the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) to assess PA during 6 lesson contexts in 47 boys-only, 54 girls-only, and 63 coed lessons from 7 high schools. MANOVA assessed differences based on class gender composition.

Results:

Actual lesson length was 27.7 min, only 65% of the scheduled length of class periods. Students engaged in moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA) 54% of the time, with boys being more active than girls. Game play was the most dominant context (47%), and little time was allocated to knowledge and skill development. Class size, lesson length, PA, and lesson contexts all differed by class gender composition (P < .001).

Conclusions:

Many differences in the conduct of high school PE are related to class gender composition. Boys accumulated more MVPA than girls. When held, PE lessons contributed about 25% of recommended daily PA minutes; improvements could be made by increasing allocations to fitness and skill practice and reducing transition and management time. Teacher professional development is warranted.

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Erin K. Sharpe, Scott Forrester and James Mandigo

Background:

This paper evaluates the impact of a large-scale, community agency-driven initiative to increase physical activity (PA) in after-school programs in Ontario. In 2008, the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club (BGC) introduced CATCH Kids Club (CKC) into 330 after-school program sites.

Methods:

This study assessed the impact of the intervention on the quality and quantity of PA using a pretest/posttest quasi-experimental research design with a comparison non-CKC group. Data were collected at baseline (September 2008) and postintervention (May/June 2009) using the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT).

Results:

Nearly all sites, with the exception of the BGC baseline program (a sports program) achieved greater than 50% of time spent in MVPA. Significant differences were not found between levels of MVPA at CKC and comparison sites (59.3% vs. 64.2%), or at CKC sites at baseline versus postintervention (59.3% vs. 52.1%). BGC sites had significantly higher levels MVPA in CKC programs than in sports programs (70.8% vs. 35.2%). In postimplementation interviews, leaders reported general support but some mixed reactions related to how the program was received by participants.

Conclusions:

This paper offers support for PA programs that focus on inclusivity and enjoyment and emphasize the important role of staff competency.

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Michalis Stylianou, Tiffany Kloeppel, Pamela Kulinna and Han van der Mars

Background:

This study was informed by the bodies of literature emphasizing the role of physical education in promoting physical activity (PA) and addressing teacher fidelity to curricular models.

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to compare student PA levels, lesson context, and teacher PA promotion behavior among classes where teachers were using the Dynamic Physical Education (DPE) curricular model with low, moderate, and high fidelity.

Methods:

Participants were 20 physical education teachers, and their 4th and 5th grade students. Each teacher was observed teaching three times during the study. Fidelity data were collected using a validated observation instrument. PA, lesson context, and teacher behavior data were collected using the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT). Data analysis included descriptive statistics and group difference tests.

Results:

Significant differences among the three fidelity groups were identified in several items of the observation instrument. No significant moderate-to-vigorous PA or lesson context differences were found among the three groups. Students taught by teachers in the high fidelity group spent a significantly higher proportion of lesson time (7.5%) in vigorous PA than students taught by teachers in the low fidelity group. Teachers in the moderate and high fidelity groups spent a significantly higher proportion of lesson time promoting in-class PA than teachers in the low fidelity group.

Discussion:

Fidelity of implementation to the DPE model had little impact on student PA. The findings of this study can inform future researchers about the methodological importance of examining teacher fidelity to curricular models and associated outcomes.

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Paul J. Rowe, Joel M. Schuldheisz and Hans van der Mars

The purpose of this study was to assess the validity of the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) for measuring physical activity of elementary and middle school children. Students (N = 173,92 boys and 81 girls) from Grades 1–8 completed a standardized protocol that included lying, sitting, standing, walking, running, curl-ups, and push-ups. Heart rates were used as a criterion for concurrent validity. The results confirm the validity of the physical activity codes of SOFIT for elementary and middle school children. Activity Categories 2–5 indicate different levels of energy expenditure, whereas Categories 1 (lying) and 2 (sitting) refer to the same energy expenditure level. The common distinction between SOFIT Levels 4 and 5 as MVPA (moderate to vigorous physical activity) and SOFIT Levels 1 to 3 as non-MVPA is valid. Curl-ups and push-ups should be coded as MVPA.

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Jeffery J. Honas, Richard A. Washburn, Bryan K. Smith, Jerry L. Greene, Galen Cook-Wiens and Joseph E. Donnelly

The aim of this investigation was to develop an equation to estimate physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) during a 10-min physically active academic lesson using The System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) and demographic information. PAEE (portable indirect calorimeter) and physical activity (SOFIT) were simultaneously assessed in 38, 2nd through 5th grade children. PAEE and SOFIT were 3.04 ± 1.1 (kcal/min) and 3.8 ± 0.4 (score), respectively. PAEE was predicted from SOFIT score and body weight [PAEE (kcal/min) = (1.384*SOFIT + 0.084*weight (kg)—5.126), R = .81, SEE = 1.23 kcal/min]. PAEE measured by indirect calorimeter and predicted from SOFIT and body weight were 3.04 ± 1.1 (kcal/min) and 3.04 ± 0.9 kcal/min) respectively. SOFIT and body weight may provide a useful measure of PAEE associated with classroom based physical activity.

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Bik C. Chow, Thomas L. McKenzie and Lobo Louie

Physical activity engagement during physical education is important for many reasons, including developing physical fitness and movement skills and promoting health. Much more is known about physical activity in elementary than secondary schools. We examined physical activity and how it was influenced by instructor-related and environmental characteristics during 238 lessons taught by 65 physical education specialists in 30 randomly selected secondary schools in Hong Kong. Trained observers used SOFIT (System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time) in randomly selected grade 7–12 classes over a 6-month period. Results showed students engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) about 35% of lesson time, a level similar to that found in U.S. elementary schools and short of the U.S. Healthy People 2010 objective of 50% engagement time. Multiple regression analyses found that six potentially modifiable variables contributed to 35% of the variability in lesson MVPA percent.