Children’s Understanding of the Concept of Physical Activity

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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This study evaluated 4th-grade students’ understanding of the concept of physical activity and assessed the effects of two interventions to enhance the students’ understanding of this concept. Students were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: the video group (n = 40) watched a 5-min video describing physical activity; the verbal group (n = 42) listened to a generic description of physical activity; the control group received no instruction (n = 45). Students completed a 17-item checklist testing their understanding of the concept of physical activity. Compared to controls, students in the verbal and video group demonstrated significantly higher checklist scores, with the video group scoring significantly higher than the verbal group. Only 35.6% of the controls, compared to 52.4% and 70.0% of the verbal and video groups respectively, could classify ≥ 15 of the checklist items correctly. The results indicate that, without intervention, children have a limited understanding of the concept of physical activity.

S.G. Trost, A.M. Morgan, D.S. Ward, and R.R. Pate are with Department of Exercise Science in the School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. R. Saunders is with the Department of Health Promotion and Education in the School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. G. Felton is with the Department of Family and Community Nursing in the School of Nursing at the University of South Carolina.