Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

12-2011

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

James H. Lampley

Committee Members

Anew Dotterweich, Donald W. Good, Terrence A. Tollefson

Abstract

In recent years physical inactivity among students has become a matter of great concern. Nearly 65% of students do not meet the daily recommended level of physical activity, which is 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day, with 50% of that time being spent in moderate to vigorous levels of activity (CDC, 2010b). As a result, the 21st century has shown to be a time of many health problems such as, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. In fact, nearly one third of all children are considered obese or overweight (Slawta & DeNeui, 2009). Researchers suggest that these health problems are directly related to students' sedentary lifestyles (Pate et al., 2006). Schools play a pivotal role in addressing and increasing physical activity during the school day.

The purpose of this research study was to measure levels of physical activity in elementary students during school hours. Specifically, the study sought to discover if there were increased levels of physical activity while students were using a cross-curricular adventure playground, as compared to when they were engaged in free play or physical education class. The study also compared the different measurement types (pedometers, accelerometers, and the observational method) used to assess physical activity, to indicate which measurement types were most feasible in the elementary school setting. Schools are ideal locations for assessing levels of physical activity, as 95% of all children are enrolled in these learning institutions (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2005).

The data indicate that physical education provided for the highest levels of moderate to vigorous activity, while both free play and cross-curricular activity still rendered adequate levels of physical activity. After studying the different measurement protocols (pedometers, accelerometers, and the observational method) used in this study, results suggested the pedometer to be the most feasible device to use for measuring children in these types of physical activity settings. One implication for practice was implementing cross-curricular physical activity as a supplement to other physical activities or as an addition to physical education classes in an effort to allow more time for academic instruction while having students engaged in physical activity. Another recommendation for practice was to use pedometers as a cost-effective physical activity measurement device for elementary students.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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