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Am J Health Promot. 2012 Jan-Feb;26(3):135-42. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.100211-QUAN-43.

Assessing the social and physical contexts of children's leisure-time physical activity: an ecological momentary assessment study.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, 1000 S. Fremont Avenue, Alhambra, CA 91803, USA.



To use Ecological Momentary Assessment with mobile phones to describe where and with whom children's leisure-time physical activity occurs.


Repeated assessments across 4 days (Friday-Monday) during nonschool time (20 total).


Chino, California, and surrounding communities.


Primarily low to middle income children (N =121; aged 9-13 years; x¯=11.0 years, SD =1.2 years; 52% male, 38% Hispanic/Latino).


Electronic surveys measured current activity (e.g., active play/sports/exercise, watching TV/movies), social company (e.g., family, friends, alone), physical location (e.g., home, outdoors, school), and other perceived contextual features (e.g., safety, traffic, vegetation, distance from home). Analysis . Multilevel linear and multinomial logistic regression.


Most of children's physical activity occurred outdoors (away from home) (42%), followed by at home (indoors) (30%), front/backyard (at home) (8%), someone else's house (8%), at a gym/recreation center (3%), and other locations (9%). Children's physical activity took place most often with multiple categories of people together (e.g., friends and family) (39%), followed by family members only (32%), alone (15%), and with friends only (13%). Age, weight status, income, and racial/ethnic differences in physical activity contexts were observed.


The most frequently reported contexts for children's leisure time physical activity were outdoors and with family members and friends together.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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