220668 Physical activity participation and preferences among fourth to tenth grade children and adolescents

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stephanie Shapiro Berkson, MPH , Institute for Community Health, Cambridge, MA
Brooke Colaiezzi, MS , Institute for Commnuity Health, Cambridge, MA
Chieh Chu, MPH , Institute for Commnuity Health, Cambridge, MA
John Obremski, CAGS, MEd , Everett Public Schools, Everett, MA
Keri Downs, MA , Everett Public Schools, Everett, MA
Taj Washington , Everett Public Schools, Everett, MA
Virginia Chomitz, PhD , The Institute for Community Health, Cambridge, MA
Background: A decline in physical activity with age among children and adolescents has been well established. Our objectives were to identify physical activity preferences among a diverse urban (48.4% non-White) population of 4th-10th grade students in order to provide targeted physical activity opportunities and to understand how those preferences change with age. This research may inform obesity prevention strategies. Methods: Students in 4th to 8th and 10th grades in the Everett Public Schools in Everett, MA, through a Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant, logged their physical activity for four weeks during the final two grant years. We analyzed a total of five weeks of data collected during winter and spring of the 2008-2009 school year and during fall of the 2009-2010 school year. Students self-reported number of minutes/day dedicated to sports (such as baseball, basketball, and tennis), biking, running, jumping rope, walking, skateboarding or rollerblading, swimming, and dancing. Results: Results indicated a significant decline in average minutes/week dedicated to physical activity among 4th-8th grade students combined (n=3,757) compared to 10th grade students (n=849), 527.9 min. to 356.5 min, respectively, p<.0001. However, the average minutes/week spent walking significantly increased between 4th-8th grades combined and 10th grade, 156.0 min. to 183.5 min, respectively, p=0.0073. Conclusions: Results indicated an overall decline in physical activity with age. However, self-reported minutes of walking increased with age. Interventions and policy centered on walking and increasing the walkability of the built environment may provide the greatest impact on promoting physical activity among urban adolescents.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate how time dedicated to overall physical activity changes with age in an urban population of children and adolescents. 2. Identify specific physical activity preferences and how they change over time among an urban population of children and adolescents.

Keywords: Physical Activity, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee programs focused on healthy weight promotion through physical activity and nutrition.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.