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child, exercise, physical activity, structural equation model



  1. Ling, Jiying
  2. Robbins, Lorraine B.
  3. McCarthy, Valerie Lander
  4. Speck, Barbara J.


Background: Physical activity (PA) is important for controlling childhood obesity, but a comprehensive PA model for school-aged children is lacking.


Objectives: Guided by the youth PA promotion (YPAP) model, this study estimated the direct and indirect effects of self-efficacy, enjoyment, parental influence, and environment on self-reported PA and pedometer steps. A secondary purpose was to explore the association between self-reported PA and pedometer steps.


Methods: An observational and prospective study was conducted among 133 children, aged 8-11 years old, from 10 elementary schools with afterschool programs in a Midwestern U.S. school district from August through October 2013. PA was assessed by a 7-day recall scale and pedometers. Other variables were assessed by validated questionnaires.


Results: Approximately 65 (49%) children were overweight or obese-only 17 (13%) met national PA recommendations-and body mass index z-score was negatively correlated with pedometer steps (r = -.18 p = .04). A path analysis showed that self-efficacy had a direct effect on self-reported PA and pedometer steps, enjoyment had only a direct effect on self-reported PA, and parental influence had a direct effect on pedometer steps and an indirect effect on self-reported PA through self-efficacy and enjoyment. The association between self-reported PA and pedometer steps was not significant.


Discussion: Because this study only partially supports the YPAP model, studies with a larger sample size and longitudinal design are essential to further examine this model. The nonsignificant relationship of self-reported PA with pedometer steps may be due to the systematic error resulting from a common method artifact of self-report. Given the importance of parental influence, enjoyment, and self-efficacy, targeting these three determinants in future interventions to increase PA among children is recommended.