2015, Volume 7, Issue 2

Children’s segment specific moderate to vigorous physical activity through a school-initiated physical activity program

Arto Gråstén1

1Department of Sport Sciences, University of Jyväskylä

Author for correspondence: Arto Gråstén; Department of Sport Sciences, University of Jyväskylä; email: agrasten@jyu.fi

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Background: Since less than one-third of 13-year-olds in many Western countries meet the physical activity guidelines, there is a major need to promote physical activity. The aim of this study was to examine children’s segment specific moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) through the school-initiated program.
Material/Methods: The sample comprised 76 Finnish elementary school children. Accelerometers were used to investigate the patterns of segmented MVPA through 2012-2014. Repeated Measures Analysis was implemented to summarize variability between time and segments of MVPA.
Results: The examination of children’s MVPA revealed that their total, weekend, and before-school activity were significant predictors for their subsequent activity. Children’s MVPA in physical education classes, before- and after-school, and during school breaks decreased through the program. Both girls and boys accumulated the majority of their weekly MVPA during weekdays and out-of-school.
Conclusions: The program provedto be effective in order to sustain children’s total MVPA levels, although physical education, before- and after-school, and recess MVPA decreased through the program. Out-of-school activities seemed to be more important than in-school activities in relation to children’s total MVPA minutes, when they transfer to the higher grades. Attention should be paid to out-of-school, especially weekend, activities.

Key words: elementary school, physical education, accelerometer, longitudinal