Physical activity in after-school programs: comparison with physical activity policies.

J Phys Act Health 2015 Jan 5;12(1):1-7. Epub 2014 Feb 5.

Dept of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

Background: After-school programs (ASPs) across the nation have been asked to increase the amount of activity children accumulate during such programs. Policies/standards that benchmark the amount of total activity (light-to-vigorous physical activity, LVPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) accumulated in an ASP have been developed. Little is known about the prevalence of children meeting these goals.

Methods: Children (N = 812, 6 to 12 y old) attending 19 ASPs wore accelerometers for 4 days while attending an ASP. LVPA and MVPA were dichotomized according to existing ASP policies/standards. Data on whether a policy/standard was met were compared between gender, age, BMI, race/ethnicity, and ASP-type (faith-, school-, community-based) using mixed-model logistic-regression.

Results: The prevalence of meeting an LVPA policy/standard ranged from 75.4% (National Afterschool Association [NAA], 20% of program time spent in LVPA) to 97.8% (NAA, 20% of time in attendance spent in LVPA), and meeting an MVPA policy/standard ranged from 0.3% (California, 60 min MVPA/d) to 26.9% (North Carolina, 20% of attendance spent in MVPA). Boys, younger children, nonwhites, and children attending faith-or community-based ASPs were more likely to meet any policy/standard.

Conclusion: Current practice in ASPs is sufficient to meet LVPA policies/standards but insufficient to meet MVPA policy/standards. Efforts must be directed toward identifying the most appropriate policy/standard and strategies to meet it.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/jpah.2013-0135DOI Listing
January 2015
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