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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000401756.57068.d4
D-39 Free Communication/Poster - School Based Interventions: JUNE 2, 2011 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM: ROOM: Hall B

Effects Of BMI Z-score And Playground Environment On Levels Of Physical Activity In Low Socioeconomic School Students: 2356: Board #233 June 2 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Nace, Heidi J. BS1; Schaefer, Christine A. BS1; Lampe, Sarah M. MPH2; Nigg, Claudio R. PhD3; Hill, James O. PhD2; Brink, Lois A. MLA2; Browning, Raymond C. PhD1

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Author Information

1Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. 2University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO. 3University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI. (Sponsor: Raoul Reiser, PhD., FACSM)

Email: heidin@frii.com

(No relationships reported)

Childhood obesity is a substantial public health problem. Interventions designed to increase physical activity during school recess (e.g. renovated playgrounds) in the most at-risk children may help alleviate this problem.

PURPOSE: To determine the relationship between BMI z-score and levels of physical activity during recess and after school in traditional vs. renovated (Learning Landscapes, LL) elementary school playgrounds.

METHODS: We measured 5-6 days of free-living physical activity using wrist-mounted Actical accelerometers (15 second epochs) in 271 elementary school children. This data was collected as part of the baseline measures for the Intervention of PhysicaL Activity in Youth (IPLAY) Study. Students were enrolled in schools serving low SES families (77% free and reduced lunch) in the Denver, CO metropolitan area. We determined BMI z-scores using measured height and weight. We summed total accelerometry counts during recess and after school (end of school - 11pm) periods and divided by the number of minutes in each period to quantify average activity (counts/minute) during recess and after school. We ran a Univariate ANOVA to determine between-subject effects of BMI z-score, presence of LL and sex on average recess and after school activity.

RESULTS: Overall, there was a trend toward decreased recess activity with increased BMI z-score (R2=.311, p=.052). Boys at schools with LL playgrounds had significantly lower recess activity levels as BMI z-score increased (R2=.155, p=.002), while recess activity was not related to BMI z-score in boys without LL playgrounds. Recess activity for girls did not vary significantly as BMI z-score increased, regardless of the playground environment. Average after school activity (735 counts/min) was 64% lower than recess activity (2051 counts/min) and was not related to BMI z-score for either sex or playground group.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that overweight children tend to be slightly less active than their non-overweight counterparts during recess. However, the wide range of activity levels during recess and the finding that recess activity levels were only moderately greater than after school suggests that increases in recess activity can be achieved via targeted interventions, particularly in girls.

Supported by NICHD/NCI/NIDDK R01HD057229

© 2011 American College of Sports Medicine

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