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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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Cheryl A. Howe, Kimberly A. Clevenger, Brian Plow, Steve Porter and Gaurav Sinha

Recess is a valuable opportunity for children to attain daily moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during an otherwise sedentary school day, but children spend less than half of provided recess time being physically active ( 16 , 20 , 26 , 29 ). With daily recess averaging 20 to 30 minutes

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Rosalie Coolkens, Phillip Ward, Jan Seghers and Peter Iserbyt

is necessary to investigate the effects of a coordination between 2 or more components on children’s PA. 16 Recently, recess, one of the categories of the CSPAP component “PA during school,” has been gaining more attention as a setting to increase children’s daily PA because it occurs daily in

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Dave H.H. Van Kann, Sanne I. de Vries, Jasper Schipperijn, Nanne K. de Vries, Maria W.J. Jansen and Stef P.J. Kremers

which emphasizes the need to better understand how PA interventions should be developed in order to become more effective. Schools are suitable environments to reach children and create substantial impact with interventions. 9 Schoolyards can influence children’s PA and SB, especially during recess

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Lena Zimmo, Fuad Almudahka, Izzeldin Ibrahim, Mohamed G. Al-kuwari and Abdulaziz Farooq

Services, 2010 ), and for about 40% of allocated recess time ( Ridgers, Stratton, & Fairclough, 2006 ). Properly designed PE classes provide children with many physical, social, and cognitive benefits. For example, PE classes can improve basic motor skills ( Sallis et al., 2012 ), promote PA ( Centers for

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Monica A.F. Lounsbery, Thomas L. McKenzie, James R. Morrow Jr., Kathryn A. Holt and Ronald G. Budnar

Background:

Physical activity (PA) levels in schools vary widely, and there is interest in studying how student PA accrual relates to school policy and environmental conditions. School PA policy research, however, is in its infancy and generalizable measurement tools do not exist. We developed and assessed reliability of items on the School Physical Activity Policy Assessment (S-PAPA), an instrument designed to assess school PA policy related to physical education (PE), recess, and other opportunities.

Methods:

To develop items, we perused associated literature, examined existing instruments, and consulted school policy makers. For test-retest reliability assessment, 31 elementary school PE teachers completed the survey twice, 14 days apart.

Results:

S-PAPA uses open-ended, dichotomous, multichotomous, and checklist formatting and has 3 modules: 1) Physical Education (47 items), 2) Recess (27 items), and 3) Other Before, During, and After School Programs (15 items). Responses to more than 95% of items were highly related between Times 1 and 2. Generally, physical education and recess items had fair to substantial levels of agreement, and items about other school PA programs had fair to perfect agreement.

Conclusions:

Test-retest results suggest S-PAPA items are reliable and useful in assessing PA policies in elementary schools.

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Jennifer L. Huberty, Michael W. Beets, Aaron Beighle and Greg Welk

Background:

The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of Ready for Recess: an elementary school recess intervention targeting staff training (ST) and providing recreational equipment (EQ).

Methods:

Ready for Recess had 4 intervention schools: 1) EQ+ST, 2) EQ, 3) ST, and 4) control. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was assessed with accelerometers at the four schools in 257 3rd- to 6th-grade children. Random intercept models for overweight/obese (OWOB) and healthy weight (HW) for boys and girls separately, examined change in percentage of time spent in MVPA during recess across EQ+ST, EQ, and ST compared with the control from baseline to postintervention.

Results:

HW boys receiving EQ+ST increased MVPA by 19.4%, OWOB boys receiving ST increased MVPA by 4.5%, OWOB girls receiving EQ-ST increased MVPA by 6.0%, while HW girls receiving EQ decreased MVPA by 13.6% in comparison with the control.

Conclusions:

Ready for Recess represents a possible means to increase MVPA in OWOB girls/boys, populations least likely to meet MVPA recommendations. However, the effect of the intervention was not uniform across all subgroups.

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Nicola D. Ridgers, Gareth Stratton and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

Children frequently engage in diverse activities that are broadly defined as play, but little research has documented children’s activity levels during play and how they are influenced by social contexts. Assessing potentially modifiable conditions that influence play behavior is needed to design optimal physical activity interventions.

Methods:

System for Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play (SOCARP) was developed to simultaneously assess children’s physical activity, social group sizes, activity type, and social behavior during play. One hundred and fourteen children (48 boys, 66 girls; 42% overweight) from 8 elementary schools were observed during recess over 24 days, with 12 days videotaped for reliability purposes. Ninety-nine children wore a uni-axial accelerometer during their observation period.

Results:

Estimated energy expenditure rates from SOCARP observations and mean accelerometer counts were significantly correlated (r = .67; P < .01), and interobserver reliabilities (ie, percentage agreement) for activity level (89%), group size (88%), activity type (90%) and interactions (88%) met acceptable criteria. Both physical activity and social interactions were influenced by group size, activity type, and child gender and body weight status.

Conclusions:

SOCARP is a valid and reliable observation system for assessing physical activity and play behavior in a recess context.

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Nicola D. Ridgers and Gareth Stratton

Recess offers primary school age children the opportunity to engage in physical activity, though few studies have detailed the physical activity levels of children in this environment. The physical activity levels of 270 children ages 6-11 years from 18 schools were monitored on 1 school day using heart rate telemetry. Data revealed that boys engaged in higher levels of moderate-to-vigorous and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) than did girls during recess (26 and 20 min, respectively). These results suggest that recess can make a worthwhile contribution to the recommended 60 min of MVPA per day.

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Melinda J. Ickes, Heather Erwin and Aaron Beighle

Background:

With the rapid increase in obesity rates among youth, efforts to increase physical activity (PA) have become a priority. School-based strategies for PA promotion must be cost-effective, unobtrusive, and linked to improved academic performance. Efforts to maximize recess PA are advocated because of both health and academic benefits. The purpose of this manuscript was to review recess interventions aimed to improve PA among youth, and make recommendations to develop related best practices.

Methods:

An extensive literature search was conducted to include all primary research articles evaluating any recess intervention with PA as an outcome.

Results:

The included 13 interventions represented both settings within the U.S and internationally, among preschools and elementary/primary schools. A variety of strategies were used within the design and implementation of each of the interventions including: added equipment/materials, markings, zones, teacher involvement, active video games, activity of the week, and activity cards. Of the included studies, 95% demonstrated positive outcomes as a result of the recess intervention.

Conclusions:

A number of simple, low-cost strategies can be implemented to maximize the amount of recess time students are allotted. Long-term follow-up studies are warranted for each of the recess strategies identified to be effective.