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What are children and youth doing during their recreation?. Laurene Rehman, Ph.D., Phil Campagna, Ph.D., Angie Thompson, Ph.D., Roy Rasmussen, Ph.D., Gary Ness, Ph.D., Rene Murphy, Ph.D., Jack Porter, Ph.D. Background literature. Increasing levels of childhood obesity

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what are children and youth doing during their recreation

What are children and youth doing during their recreation?

Laurene Rehman, Ph.D., Phil Campagna, Ph.D., Angie Thompson, Ph.D., Roy Rasmussen, Ph.D., Gary Ness, Ph.D., Rene Murphy, Ph.D., Jack Porter, Ph.D.

background literature
Background literature
  • Increasing levels of childhood obesity
    • Number of overweight children increased from 15 to 28.8% for boys and 15 to 23.6% for girls from 1981 to 1996 (Tremblay & Wilms, 2000)
  • Low levels of physical activity
    • ˜90% of grade 3s with 60+ minutes of physical activity/day (Campagna et al., 2002)
    • 62% of grade 7 boys and 44% of grade 7 girls with 60+ minutes of physical activity/day
background literature cont
Background Literature (cont.)
  • Low levels of physical activity (cont.)
    • 12.6% of grade 12 boys and 6.9% of grade 12 girls with 60+ minutes of physical activity/day
  • Physically inactive children are likely to become inactive adults (Kuhl & Cooper, 1992)
methodology physically active children and youth pacy
Methodology - Physically Active Children and Youth (PACY)
  • 1654 participants (grades 3, 7, 11)
  • Data collected as part of a surveillance system on the physical activity levels of children and youth in Nova Scotia
  • Accelerometer were worn for 7 days
  • Surveys were administered to children/youth, and their parents
what are the most popular leisure recreation activities
What are the most popular leisure/recreation activities?
  • When examining the activities/

equipment/locations that were most popular based on gender(only significant differences are noted):

    • Grade 3
      • Boys played video games, basketball, hockey, baseball, and skateboarded
      • Girls used a skipping rope, church for recreation, played in a playground, and swam
what are the most popular leisure recreation activities cont
What are the most popular leisure/recreation activities? (cont.)
  • Grade 7
    • Boys played video games, hockey, baseball and skateboarded
    • Girls used a skipping rope, and swimming pool
  • Grade 11
    • Boys biked, played video games, played hockey, skateboarded, used a recreation centre, arena, and skateboard park
    • Girls used a skipping rope and hiked
leisure recreation and physical activity
Leisure/recreation and physical activity
  • Activity levels were significantly related to locale for Grade 3s:
    • Use of walking/hiking trails (p=0.025), soccer field (p=0.016), and skateboard park (p=0.001)
  • Activity levels were not significantly related to leisure/recreation in Grade 7s
    • But…higher activity levels were associated with higher leisure/recreation participation and lower levels of TV and computer usage
  • Activity levels were significantly related to leisure/recreation for Grade 11s:
    • Use of video games (p=0.02), playing hockey (p=0.02), use of a park (p=0.05), use of a soccer field (p=0.005)
leisure and bmi
Leisure and BMI
  • The type of activity/equipment/location was examined in relation to Body Mass Index (CDC)
    • Grade 3 – skateboarding only difference
      • 74% saying “yes” classified as “normal”, 17.7% as “overweight”, and 8% as “obese”
    • Grade 7 - computer usage only difference
      • Highest usage reported by overweight (M=3.11.4), followed by normal weight (M=2.91.3).
    • Grade 11 - video games, swimming pool, use of church for recreation significant
      • Video games used most frequently by “obese” (M=2.23 1.32), swimming pool and church most frequently by “normal” and “overweight”
conclusion and recommendations
Conclusion and Recommendations
  • Need for further examination of activity, BMI, and leisure/recreation of children and youth
  • Gender differences evident in leisure/recreation
  • More sedentary types of activities (e.g., computer, TV, video games) being noted with lower activity levels and higher BMI
  • Conversely, more physically active leisure linked with higher activity levels and lower levels of BMI
  • Practitioners and researchers need to consider finding more methods of engaging children/youth in healthy lifestyle choices
for more information please contact
For more information, please contact:

Laurene Rehman, Ph.D.

School of Health and Human Performance

Dalhousie University

6230 South St., Halifax, NS, B3H 3J5

(902) 494-6389, lrehman@dal.ca