Physical activity patterns and school aged children perceptions of after school programs

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With many students of all ages attending after school programs (APSs) where there are a variety of program specific goals, this study examined the physical activity (PA) patterns of youth

With many students of all ages attending after school programs (APSs) where there are a variety of program specific goals, this study examined the physical activity (PA) patterns of youth and teens attending afterschool programs as well as their physical activity during the school week. The first phase of the study used a validated observational instrument System for Observing Play and Leisure in Youth (SOPLAY) to record PA data and contextual aspects. Data was analyzed using cross-tabulations, chi-square test, and a table created to understand moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) levels and contextual variables of the ASP. Findings suggest both girls and boys engaged in MVPA in environments built for play, while the mean percentage of girls engaged in MVPA was less than boys regardless of activity area. The second phase of the study used a survey comprised of two self-administered instruments. The first section used the Middle School Health Behavior Survey (MSHBS), which has been previously validated to record youth and teens PA behaviors during the past school week inside and outside of school. The second portion of the survey asked youth and teens about PA participation, leisure time, perceptions of the after school program, and choices within the after school program using the validated Kaiser Physical Activity Survey (KPAS). Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics to calculate and summarize data within and across both groups. Results showed more than half of youth and teens surveyed were active in some form during the past week regardless of being in school or outside of school, approximately less than a third are in front of a television or computer for less than an hour, and the favorite part of the ASP to youth and teens was the Gym and Friends respectively.