Factors Affecting Self-Reported Physical Activity in Children Ages 10-12

Sherrick-Escamilla, Shirley

This study examined the relationship between the current level of physical activity in older school-age children and their self-perception of what promotes and hinders their participation in physical activity.

One hundred fifty one (54%) 10, 11, and 12 year old children from 7 Roman Catholic K-8th grade and 1 Charter K-8th grade schools in a urban southwest portion of Michigan participated in the study during the academic year 2005/2006.

The study revealed no significant positive relationship existed between gender and Total MET score. A difference existed between males and females with Total, In-School and Out-of-School MET scores, with males reporting higher levels of physical activity overall than females.

Although 39% of the students had BMI’s over the 95th percentile and were considered to be obese, no statistical inverse relationship existed between BMI and Total MET score. In-School MET scores and BMI produced a statistically significant inverse relationship that revealed when the BMI was > 95th percentile, the level of in-school participation in physical activity was less than those students whose BMI was < 95th percentile.

The study revealed that the self-reported perceived benefits to participate in physical activity accounted for 5.8% (p < .01) of the variance explained in self-reported current level of physical activity in older school-age children (Total MET Score). Significant relationships also existed between perceived benefits to participate in physical activity and In-School and Out-of-School MET scores. These results indicate that students who had more positive perceptions of the benefits of physical activity were more likely to be more physically active both in and out of school.

The study also revealed that the self-reported perceived barriers to participate in physical activity accounted for 4.9% of the variance (p < .01) explained in self-reported total current level of physical activity in older school-age children (Total MET Score). The negative relation between variables indicates that students who perceive fewer barriers to physical activity are more likely to participate in physical activity, than the students who perceive more barriers. Further, significant differences existed between males and females in the study and their perceived barriers to participate in physical activity with females reporting more barriers. However, no significant differences existed between males and females and the perceived benefits to participate in physical activity and perceived physical activity self-efficacy.