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Lisa M. Barnett, David R. Lubans, Anna Timperio, Jo Salmon and Nicola D. Ridgers

In the last decade there has been growing evidence supporting a positive association between children’s gross motor competence and their physical activity, fitness, and weight status ( Barnett, Lai, et al., 2016 ; Lubans, Morgan, Cliff, Barnett, & Okely, 2010 ; Robinson et al., 2015 ). However

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Xiangli Gu, Senlin Chen and Xiaoxia Zhang

The high prevalence of physical inactivity among children is a pressing concern, with over a half of the children ages of 6–11 years in the United States not meeting the physical activity guidelines ( Troiano et al., 2008 ). Voluntary participation in physical activity may root in a person

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Aaron Beighle and Robert P. Pangrazi

Background:

The primary purpose of this study was to describe the association between activity time and step counts in children.

Methods:

Subjects were 590 students (334 girls, 256 boys) with each gender having a mean age of 9.2 ± 1.8 y. All subjects wore the Walk4Life 2505 pedometer for four consecutive weekdays. This pedometer simultaneously measures both step counts and activity time.

Results:

Boys accumulated significantly more minutes of activity time/day (140.9 ± 39.6 vs. 126.3 ± 38.1), steps/day (13,348 ± 4131 vs. 11,702 ± 3923), and steps per min (93.99 ± 5.8 vs. 91.85 ± 5.8) than girls (P < 0.001) Steps/day was a significant predictor of activity time/day (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions:

Boys accumulate more steps per day and more activity time per day than girls. There is a strong association between steps per day and activity time in children. Daily steps per minute as a measure of free living physical activity in children is explored

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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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Marc Theeboom, Paul De Knop and Maureen R. Weiss

Recent research in educational psychology suggests that provision of a mastery motivational climate will maximize enjoyment, perceived competence, and intrinsic motivation in children (Ames, 1992a, 1992b, 1992c). Minimal research has been conducted to test this proposition in the physical domain. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a performance versus mastery oriented teaching program on children’s enjoyment, perceived competence, intrinsic motivation, and motor skill development. Children (N = 119) 8 to 12 years of age were randomly assigned to one of the two programs for 3 weeks during an organized sports program. Results revealed that children in the mastery oriented group reported significantly higher levels of enjoyment and exhibited better motor skills than those in the performance oriented group. In-depth interviews further indicated that children in the mastery program were almost unanimous in reporting high levels of perceived competence and intrinsic motivation, while those from the traditional group showed less pronounced effects. These results provide empirical evidence that a mastery motivational climate can result in more positive experiences for young athletes as they learn new skills.

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Stanislaw H. Czyz and Abel L. Toriola

A worldwide survey by Hardman and Marshall (2001) indicated a decline in the state and status of Physical Education (PE) in many countries. Using a modified Physical Education and School Sport (PESS) questionnaire (Bailey and Dismore, 2005), we examined age and gender differences in the perception and value orientation of PESS among 285 children in South-West Poland. Data analysis yielded marked age and gender differences with respect to feelings about PESS, its importance relative to other school subjects and development of social skills. Children’s responses were categorized as physical, cognitive, social, affective, lifestyle and environmental based on the outcomes and benefits of PESS (Bailey, 2006). The children attributed their positive feelings toward PESS and favorite part of PESS to the physical domain. This finding was consistent across age and gender categories, except that a tendency toward decline in the importance of the physical domain was found among older children. The need for learners’ value orientation to be considered by teachers and curriculum developers to design and implement quality PESS programs is discussed.

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Holly R. Huddleston, Vaughn Barry and Jennifer L. Caputo

Background:

The purpose was to characterize energy expenditure (EE) during academic subjects and activities during an elementary school day.

Methods:

Children in 2nd to 4th grades (N = 33) wore the SenseWear Armband (SWA) for 5 school days to measure EE. Teachers’ logs were compared with SWA data to extract information about EE throughout the day. Energy expenditure was also compared among grades.

Results:

After controlling for body mass, grade level was not a significant predictor of average daily caloric expenditure, F (2, 17.58) = .29, P = .75, ω2 = .05. When comparing activities throughout the day, relative rates of EE differed significantly, Wilks’ F (7, 23) = 52.2, P = .00, ηp 2 = .94, with PE and recess having higher EE. When academic subjects were compared (math, science, language arts), relative rate of EE was also significantly different, Wilks’ F (2, 30) = 4.31, P = .02, ηp 2 = .22. For the full sample, relative rate EE was higher in science than in language arts.

Conclusions:

The school day provides opportunity for EE for children. These data support the potential benefit of active instruction in language arts as a method to increase school day EE.

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Annemarie Schumacher Dimech and Roland Seiler

Social anxiety is a common psychological complaint that can have a significant and long-term negative impact on a child’s social and cognitive development. In the current study, the relationship between sport participation and social anxiety symptoms was investigated. Swiss primary school children (N =201), parents, and teachers provided information about the children’s social anxiety symptoms, classroom behavior, and sport involvement. Gender differences were observed on social anxiety scores, where girls tended to report higher social anxiety symptoms, as well as on sport activity, where boys engaged in more sport involvement. MANCOVAs with gender as covariant showed no differences in social anxiety symptoms between children involved in an extracurricular sport and those not engaged in sport participation. Nevertheless, children engaged in team sports displayed fewer physical social anxiety symptoms than children involved in individual sports.

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Melvin Ibana and Priscila Caçola

Handwriting is a core deficit in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Fifty children were tested with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, Second Edition; Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, Short Form; Evaluation Tool of Children's Handwriting (ETCH); McMaster Handwriting Assessment Protocol; and Beery-Buktenica Test of Visual–Motor Integration (Beery–VMI–6). The results showed significant differences in components of the ETCH between groups (p < .05) and significant relationships between handwriting (ETCH and Beery–VMI–6) and motor ability measures (r > .30). We conclude that the ETCH and the Beery–VMI–6 are sensitive measures of handwriting ability for children with probable DCD, but more research is needed to identify a gold-standard assessment for evaluating handwriting in this population.

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Jeffrey J. Martin and Nate McCaughtry

Researchers using social cognitive theory and employing built environment constructs to predict physical activity (PA) in inner-city African American children is quite limited. Thus, the purpose of our investigation was to evaluate the ability of important social cognitive variables (e.g., self-efficacy) and built environment constructs (e.g., neighborhood hazards) to predict African American children’s PA. Children (N = 331, ages 10–14) completed questionnaires assessing social cognitive theory constructs and PA. Using multiple regression analyses we were able to account for 19% of the variance in PA. Based on standardized beta weights, the best predictors of PA were time spent outside and social support derived from friends. These findings illuminate the valuable role of PA support from peers, as well as the simple act of going outside for inner-city African American children.