Exploring children's physical activity behaviours according to location: A mixed-methods case study
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AbstractThe school environment is ideally placed to facilitate physical activity (PA) with numerous windows of opportunity from break and lunch times, to lesson times and extracurricular clubs. However, little is known about how children interact with the school environment to engage in PA and the other locations they visit daily, including time spent outside of the school environment i.e., evening and weekend locations. Moreover, there has been little research incorporating a mixed-methods approach that captures children's voices alongside objectively tracking children's PA patterns. The aim of this study was to explore children's PA behaviours according to different locations. Sixty children (29 boys, 31 girls)-35 key stage 2 (aged 9-11) and 25 key stage 3 (aged 11-13)-wore an integrated global positioning systems (GPS) and heart rate (HR) monitor over four consecutive days. A subsample of children (n = 32) were invited to take part in one of six focus groups to further explore PA behaviours and identify barriers and facilitators to PA. Children also completed a PA diary. The KS2 children spent significantly more time outdoors than KS3 children (p = 0.009). Boys engaged in more light PA (LPA) when on foot and in school, compared with girls (p = 0.003). KS3 children engaged in significantly more moderate PA (MPA) at school than KS2 children (p = 0.006). Focus groups revealed fun, enjoyment, friends, and family to be associated with PA, and technology, costs, and weather to be barriers to PA. This mixed methodological study highlights differences in the PA patterns and perceptions of children according to age and gender. Future studies should utilize a multi-method approach to gain a greater insight into children's PA patterns and inform future health policies that differentiate among a range of demographic groups of children.
CitationKhawaja, I., Woodfield, L., Collins, P., Benkwitz, A. and Nevill, A. (2019) Exploring children's physical activity behaviours according to location: A mixed-methods case study, Sports, 7(11), 240, https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7110240
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