Physical education's contribution to the total daily physical activity levels of middle school students Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/gm80hz02g

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  • Our nation's schools are in a key position to promote regular physical activity through participation in quality physical education programs (Sallis & McKenzie, 1991). The ultimate long-term demonstration of each program's impact is the students' maintenance of an active lifestyle. Physical educators are consistently attempting to find different ways to promote lifetime physical activity within their programs. The pedometer is a useful, inexpensive, objective, and reliable measurement tool that may be used to promote and monitor physical activity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the total daily physical activity levels of middle school students, and the contribution of physical education lessons. Physical activity levels of 48 middle school students were measured using pedometers during physical education as well as outside of class over a period often school days. A secondary focus was to evaluate the degree to which physical activity levels differed across selected student characteristics (i.e., gender and body composition). The mean number of steps taken by the students was 12,993 per day, and 2,244 per day in physical education. A Pearson correlation was run to determine if there was a relationship between the time factor and the step factor. The correlation between the two was .99, providing further evidence that either time or steps can be used when measuring physical activity levels. A 2 x 2 (BMI x Gender) MANOVA was conducted on the mean number of steps taken during the day and the time spent in physical activity during the day. The results of the MANOVA indicated significant main effects for gender, F(2,43) = 6.73, p<.05, and BMI, F(2,43)=4.69, p<.05, but no significant interaction between the two. In tests of between-subjects effects, both BMI and gender had significant effects on steps (p=.006,p=.004) and time (p=.0l4,p=.001), respectively. During the study, the students wore the pedometers sealed for the first five days, and unsealed for the last five days. A two-tailed, paired t-test was used to assess if there were any differences between the groups. Neither step counts, t(8) = .75,p>.05, nor time, t(8)=.49,p>.05, were significantly different between the sealed and unsealed days. Physical education did provide a considerable amount of physical activity for the students (17% of their daily step totals). Our findings also reconfirm, using different methods, what other studies have reported regarding the differences between physical activity levels of males versus females, and 'healthy' versus 'at risk' populations.
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