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Y-PATHS: A Conceptual Framework for Classifying the Timing, How, and Setting of Youth Physical Activity

Jacob Szeszulski, Kevin Lanza, Erin E. Dooley, Ashleigh M. Johnson, Gregory Knell, Timothy J. Walker, Derek W. Craig, Michael C. Robertson, Deborah Salvo, and Harold W. Kohl III

relevant for children and adolescents, because it excludes youth-specific contextual factors (eg, school setting). Accordingly, a new framework that identifies the timing, how, and setting of youth physical activity is needed in order to better inform physical activity surveillance, research, and program

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How Societal Forces of Change Are Transforming Youth Physical Activity Promotion in North America

Jacob Szeszulski, Jamie M. Faro, Rodney P. Joseph, Kevin Lanza, Lucie Lévesque, Courtney M. Monroe, Elsa A. Pérez-Paredes, Erica G. Soltero, and Rebecca E. Lee

, underresourced neighborhoods). 6 In this commentary, the environmental context is considered within 2 established frameworks—the ecological model of physical activity (EMPA) and youth physical activity timing, how, and setting (Y-PATHS) framework. Both posit that environmental factors at different levels of the ecologic

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A New Decade of Healthy People: Considerations for Comparing Youth Physical Activity Across 2 Surveillance Systems

Tiffany J. Chen, Kathleen B. Watson, Shannon L. Michael, Jessica J. Minnaert, Janet E. Fulton, and Susan A. Carlson

) for PA-06, 4 allowing the continued assessment of both longer aerobic trends over time, as well as the full youth physical activity guidelines that include muscle-strengthening activity. Since <1% of YRBS data are comprised of high school students aged 13 years or younger, 7 , 8 there was a gap in

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Motor Skill Development and Youth Physical Activity: A Social Psychological Perspective

Maureen R. Weiss

, followed by a fourth section on motor development research on motor and perceived competence and physical activity. The fifth section is devoted to a social-psychological lens on youth physical activity—competence-based theories and research on intrapersonal (e.g., perceived competence) and

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Home, School, and Neighborhood Environment Factors and Youth Physical Activity

Rachel A. Millstein, Joe Strobel, Jacqueline Kerr, James F. Sallis, Gregory J. Norman, Nefertiti Durant, Sion Harris, and Brian E. Saelens

This study examined the contributions of home, school, and neighborhood factors related to youth physical activity (PA). Adolescents (ages 12–18; N = 137) and parents of younger children (ages 5–11; N = 104) from three US metropolitan areas completed surveys. Youth PA was estimated from six items assessing overall physical activity. Bivariate analyses between environment factors and PA

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Psychosocial Aspects of Youth Physical Activity

Lindsay E. Kipp

Two articles that contribute to the literature on psychosocial predictors of youths’ physical activity motivation and behavior were chosen for commentary. The first article by Fenner and colleagues showed that a family-based intervention was effective at increasing overweight adolescents’ self-determined motivation for physical activity and healthy eating and their quality of life. Significant study contributions include a multidisciplinary team of researchers, multiple pre and post intervention assessments, and a longitudinal test of mechanisms of change. Findings contribute to understanding how to provide overweight adolescents with support and choices at a critical developmental period to ultimately foster lifelong healthy behaviors. The second article by Garn and colleagues examined longitudinal relationships between physical self-perceptions and physical activity among children. Important study contributions include use of accelerometers to assess physical activity and tests of bidirectional relationships. The sample of young children aged 8–11 years also contributes to the literature. Results highlight body acceptance as an important mechanism of focus to foster children’s physical activity behavior. Overall, the highlighted studies show that parental support and positive self-perceptions are important to consider in supporting youths’ active lifestyles.

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Policy and Practice-Relevant Youth Physical Activity Research Center Agenda

Nisha Botchwey, Myron F. Floyd, Keshia Pollack Porter, Carmen L. Cutter, Chad Spoon, Tom L. Schmid, Terry L. Conway, J. Aaron Hipp, Anna J. Kim, M. Renee Umstattd Meyer, Amanda L. Walker, Tina J. Kauh, and Jim F. Sallis

Background: The Physical Activity Research Center developed a research agenda that addresses youth physical activity (PA) and healthy weight, and aligns with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health. This paper summarizes prioritized research studies with a focus on youth at higher risk for inactive lifestyles and childhood obesity in urban and rural communities. Methods: Systematic literature reviews, a survey, and discussions with practitioners and researchers provided guidance on research questions to build evidence and inform effective strategies to promote healthy weight and PA in youth across race, cultural, and economic groups. Results: The research team developed a matrix of potential research questions, identified priority questions, and designed targeted studies to address some of the priority questions and inform advocacy efforts. The studies selected examine strategies advocating for activity-friendly communities, Play Streets, park use, and PA of youth in the summer. A broader set of research priorities for youth PA is proposed. Conclusion: Establishing the Physical Activity Research Center research agenda identified important initial and future research studies to promote and ensure healthy weight and healthy levels of PA for at-risk youth. Results will be disseminated with the goal of promoting equitable access to PA for youth.

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Direct and Indirect Effects of Social Support on Youth Physical Activity Behavior

Pedro Silva, Ryan Lott, Jorge Mota, and Greg Welk

Social support (SS) from parents and peers are key reinforcing factors in the Youth Physical Activity Promotion (YPAP) model. This study aims to identify the relative contribution of parental and peer SS on youth participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Participants included 203 high school students (n = 125 girls; mean age 14.99 ± 1.55 years). MVPA was assessed by accelerometry. SS influences were evaluated using a well-established scale. Structural equation modeling measured (AMOS, Version 19) the relative fit of the YPAP models using both parental and peer SS. Parental SS had significant associations with both predisposing factors, enjoyment (β = .62, p < .01), and self-efficacy (β= .32, p < .01), as well a direct effect on MVPA (β = .30, p < .01). Peer SS had direct effect on MVPA (β = .33, p < .05), also significantly influenced levels of enjoyment (β = .47, p < .01) and self-efficacy (β = .67, p < .01). In both models self-efficacy mediated the influence on MVPA. The direct effects for parents and peers were similar. This demonstrates that both parental and peer social support exert a strong influence on adolescent MVPA.

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Secular Trends in Youth Physical Activity and Parents’ Socioeconomic Status from 1977 to 2005

Risto Telama, Lauri Laakso, Heimo Nupponen, Arja Rimpelä, and Lasse Pere

The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between youth physical activity and family socioeconomic status (FSES) over 28 years. As a part of the Finnish Adolescent Health and Lifestyle Survey a random sample of 12-, 15- and 18-year-old boys and girls participated in a nation-wide survey by answering questions every second year, from 1977 to 2005, on, among other things, leisure time physical activity and sport participation. Father’s education represented FSES. The results showed that there were no significant or only small differences between the high and low FSES groups in unorganised physical activity during the study period. Participation in physical activities organized by the school was not associated with FSES. Participation in youth sport organized by sport clubs was strongly associated with FSES in both sexes. The young people in the high FSES groups participated more than those in the low FSES groups. It was concluded that considerable inequality exists in youth sport participation, that this inequality has been growing during the last decade, and that it is bigger among girls than among boys.

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Using Accelerometers in Youth Physical Activity Studies: A Review of Methods

Kelli L. Cain, James F. Sallis, Terry L. Conway, Delfien Van Dyck, and Lynn Calhoon


In 2005, investigators convened by the National Cancer Institute recommended development of standardized protocols for accelerometer use and reporting decision rules in articles. A literature review was conducted to document accelerometer methods and decision rule reporting in youth physical activity articles from 2005−2010.


Nine electronic databases identified 273 articles that measured physical activity and/or sedentary behavior using the most-used brand of accelerometer (ActiGraph). Six key methods were summarized by age group (preschool, children, and adolescents) and trends over time were examined.


Studies using accelerometers more than doubled from 2005−2010. Methods included 2 ActiGraph models, 6 epoch lengths, 6 nonwear definitions, 13 valid day definitions, 8 minimum wearing day thresholds, 12 moderate-intensity physical activity cut points, and 11 sedentary cut points. Child studies showed the most variation in methods and a trend toward more variability in cut points over time. Decision rule reporting improved, but only 54% of papers reported on all methods.


The increasing diversity of methods used to process and score accelerometer data for youth precludes comparison of results across studies. Decision rule reporting is inconsistent, and trends indicate declining standardization of methods. A methodological research agenda and consensus process are proposed.