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Res Q Exerc Sport. 1990 Dec;61(4):307-14.

Children's frequency of participation in moderate to vigorous physical activities.

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  • 1School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston 77225.


Third and fourth grade boys (n = 422) and girls (n = 390) in four Texas elementary schools reported their participation in moderate to vigorous physical activities (MVPAs) over a 3-day period. Students were surveyed during class on successive days. On a subsample (n = 44), the agreement between reported and observed physical activities during physical education or recess was 86.3%. Running, walking fast, games and sports, and bicycling accounted for 70% of Total MVPAs. Of Total MVPAs reported, 47.0% for boys and 44.6% for girls were 10 min or longer in duration (LMVPA). The average number of LMVPAs per day was 1.7 for both boys and girls. Students reported significantly more occurrences of LMVPAs out of school than during school. Significant interaction between grade and gender indicated that third grade boys reported more Total MVPAs and LMVPAs than third grade girls, but fourth grade boys reported fewer Total MVPAs and LMVPAs than fourth grade girls reported fewer Total MVPAs and LMVPAs than fourth grade girls. During the 3-day reporting period, 12.3% of boys and 13.3% of girls reported no LMVPAs, and 35.6% of boys and girls reported fewer than one LMVPAs per day. While the majority of children reported obtaining at least some activity daily, a substantial proportion of children in this sample reported fewer than one LMVPA daily, indicating that many children may not be obtaining adequate amounts of physical activity.

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