Investigating elementary school children’s daily physical activity and sedentary behaviours during weekdays
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The purpose of the study was to quantify the contributions of physical education, exergaming (active video games that also are a type of exercise), recess, lunch break and after-school time segments to children's daily physical activity and sedentary behaviours. Participants were 138 second and third graders (71 girls) who attended 20-min recess and 75-min lunch time daily, 25-min regular physical education or exergaming-based classes being alternated daily. The after-school period was defined as 3:20-10:00pm. Physical activity was assessed via accelerometry and the dependent variables were children's time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), light physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Children's percentages of time spent in MVPA (P < .001; except for the difference between exergaming and lunch break: P = .63), light physical activity (P < .001) and sedentary behaviour (P < .001) differed significantly across the time segments (i.e., physical education/exergaming, recess, lunch break and after-school). Additionally, children accumulated significantly more MVPA (t = 10.22, P < .001) but less light physical activity (t = -3.17, P = .002) and sedentary behaviour (t = -3.91, P < .001) in physical education than in exergaming. Overall, physical education was more effective in generating MVPA than other segments over the school day. The after-school segment holds potential as an avenue for promoting children's MVPA, as this long period could be better utilised to organise structured physical activity.
author list (cited authors)
Gao, Z., Chen, S., Huang, C. C., Stodden, D. F., & Xiang, P.