Restricting opportunities to be active during school time: Do children compensate by increasing physical activity levels after school?

  • Dale D
  • Corbin C
  • Dale K
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Abstract

In an investigation, Dale et al determined if children would compensate for school days of restricted physical activity opportunities by increasing activity levels after school. Opportunities for children to be physically active during school time are sparse and becoming increasingly so. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if children would compensate for school days (9 a.m.-3 p.m.) of restricted physical activity opportunities by increasing activity levels after school (3 p.m.-7:30 p.m.). Third and fourth grade children (N = 76) each wore a CSA accelerometer for 4 nonconsecutive days. Two days were categorized as active--during school, all children participated in outdoor recess and physical education class. Two days were categorized as restricted--all children spent their recess time indoors at a computer terminal, and no physical education class was scheduled. Dependent t tests revealed that children did not compensate for a sedentary school day by increasing their levels of physical activity after school. In fact, average movement counts per minute were higher in the 3 p.m.-7:30 p.m. period following the active day (525 counts.min-1) versus the restricted day (186 counts.min-1). These findings suggest cause for concern if children's opportunities to be active within school time are limited. Several reasons are given as to why children did not compensate or "make up" for the physical activity opportunities missed during the restricted school day.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biological
  • CSA accelerometer
  • Computer games
  • Physical education

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Authors

  • Darren Dale

  • Charles B. Corbin

  • Kathleen S. Dale

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