Physical activity levels of students with and without a disability in inclusive and self contained physical education Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ns064850m

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  • As obesity rates of children and adolescents rise within the Unites States, physical activity becomes increasingly important for adolescents with and without a disability. As the trend toward increased obesity rates in adolescents continues, there are similiar increases in the percentage of children being educated in inclusive settings. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of inclusinve and self contained physical education on the physical activity levels of students with and without a disability. Twenty-seven sixth grade students without a disability and 3 students with a disability participated in the study. The physical activity levels of the participants with and without a disability were assessed using the Actiwatch® accelerometers for one to two weeks during their inclusive or non-inclusive physical education classes. The participants' average physical activity levels were measured as the average movement counts per physical education class. The participants' average MVPA levels were assessed based on a previously determined cut-point to distinguish between sedentary-to-light and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The results of the ANCOVA comparing the physical activity levels of the participants without a disability indicated that there were no statistical differences between the two classes, F(1,24)= .36, p=.55, partial n2=.02. Also, there were no significant differences between MVPA levels of the participants in the inclusive and noninclusive physical education classes, F(1,24) = .24, p = .63, partial n2=.01. Visual analysis of differences in physical activity levels of students with a disability during inclusive and self contained classes indicated no clear trends in MVPA levels of the participants. However, the level of physical activity appears to be related to the size of the gymnasium where the participants had their physical education classes. The result could also be related to many factors including the teacher behavior of each of the three observed physical educators, class context components, the class environment, the lesson focus during each observed class, and instructional assistance available to keep the students with a disability “on task” during the activity chosen for each class. This study contributes information about the physical activity behavior of adolescents with and without a disability in inclusive and self contained physical education. Future research needs to examine what variables in inclusive and self contained physical education contribute to increased physical activity levels in students with a disability. In addition, future research is needed to determine whether female average physical activity levels in physical education can be altered through different motivational programs targeted to their population.
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