Research Study Abstract

Evaluation of an Unstructured Afterschool Physical Activity Program

  • Presented on May 31, 2013

Purpose To evaluate an unstructured afterschool physical activity (PA) program for elementary school students.

Methods PA levels of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students (N=205) at four lowincome elementary schools (67-79% free and reduced lunches) were cross-sectionally assessed during an unstructured afterschool PA program. Assessments at each school were conducted during 2-3 sessions of the afterschool PA program. Up to 20 students at each session were randomly chosen to have their PA objectively assessed using an ActiGraph accelerometer (GT3X, ActiGraph LLC, Pensacola, FL) for the duration of the afterschool PA program. Activity counts and step data were collected by the accelerometer in 30-second epochs. Standard data reduction procedures were used to process collected data and the Evenson (2008) cutpoints were used to characterize PA intensity

Results The average duration of the afterschool PA program was 54.0 ± 9.4 min. Children spent the majority of their time in light PA (28.1 ± 8.4 minutes), while spending less time in moderate-to-vigorous PA (15.5 ± 6.7 min) or in sedentary behavior (10.4 ± 6.1 min). In total, children averaged 1805 ± 534 steps during the afterschool PA program

Conclusions Children accumulated approximately 15 min of moderate-tovigorous PA per session while participating in this unstructured afterschool PA program. Additionally, the mean value of accumulated steps during the afterschool PA program represented 14-16.5% of the minimum steps/day target (depending upon gender) identified for elementary aged school children. Future research is needed to identify best practices for maximizing moderate-to-vigorous PA accumulations during after school PA programs.

Presented at

ACSM 2013 Annual Meeting


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