Increasing children's weekend physical activity


Physical inactivity contributes to a myriad of poor health conditions. Physical inactivity in childhood predicts inactivity throughout the lifespan. As a result it is important to foster participation in physical activity during childhood. The current study examined the relationship of confidence, motivation, and physical literacy to daily physical activity levels on weekends and weekdays. Participants were 86 boys and girls, grades 4-7, Mage = 10.28 years; SD = 1.20. Confidence and motivation were assessed via an online version of the Children's Self-Perceptions of Adequacy in and Predilection for Physical Activity (Hay, 1992), physical literacy was assessed using the Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy as per Longmuir (2013), and pedometer step counts were used to measure daily physical activity levels. Results indicated a significant difference between number of steps taken on weekdays (M = 14600; SD = 10124) compared to weekends (M = 10996; SD = 7304); the children took significantly more steps on weekdays than they did on weekend days; t(85) = -3.02, p = .003. Motivation and confidence were not significant predictors of number of daily steps. Physical literacy score (with pedometer steps component score removed) did not predict number of daily steps on weekends or weekdays. Previous research has established a link between parent involvement and child participation in physical activity; school age children typically spend weekends with their parents. Given these relationships interventions to increase parent involvement and opportunities for physical activity on weekends should be emphasized.

Acknowledgments: Research funding was provided by the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute through the RBC Learn to Play project, delivered in partnership with ParticipACTION and the Public Health Agency of Canada