Equipment Availability in the Home and School Environment: Its Relationship on Physical Activity in Children
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Over the past three decades, instances of childhood obesity have tripled in the United States and are recognized as a serious public concern that requires action. Environmental factors have been identified as potential influences on the physical activity behavior of children; availability of equipment is one of these factors. The overall purpose of this dissertation was to examine availability of equipment as an environmental influence on a child’s physical activity behavior. The two environments where children spend the major of time, home and school, were evaluated for equipment availability and increased physical activity. Three studies were conducted to complete this purpose. In Manuscript 1, a systematic literature review was conducted, which included electronic databases as well as reference lists and author’s works as relevant. Only studies which measured home and school environments as factors in physical activity of children ages 5-12 were included. The review was conducted to determine the theoretical framework most used. Of the thirty-one studies reviewed, 67% showed little or no theoretical framework driving the study. Theoretical framework and models based on theory is needed to advance the field and this body of literature. In Manuscript 2, a systematic literature review was conducted which included electronic databases as well as reference lists and author’s works as relevant. Only studies which measured home and school environments and highlighted the availability of equipment as a factor in physical activity of children ages 5-12 were included. Of the twenty-one studies reviewed, only 14% clearly defined “equipment” and how it was measured for the particular study. With multiple definitions and confusion when comparing studies, standardization in this area is desperately needed. Manuscript 3, analyzed data from a larger study, NIH, Student Wellness Assessment and Advocacy Project (SWAAP), conducted in Waller county Texas, 2010. The results demonstrated which pieces of equipment in the home environment were available and the percentage of use. School environments were measured for availability of equipment and facilities. A linear regression analysis determined that being of Hispanic race was significant in less physical activity in an average seven day period. Given that children spend up to 80% of their day at home or school, influences in these two environments are extremely important to the development of physical activity behaviors. Future studies involving the availability and use of equipment should clearly define the type of equipment used or observed. In cases of intervention studies type and amount need to be clearly defined as well as assessment of its effect on physical activity in children. Several studies have been conducted for the specific age group of 6-12 year olds and their physical activity and multiple factors involved availability of opportunities for physical activity. Of those factors equipment availability has been shown to influence physical activity as well as not influence these opportunities. Standardization of the term equipment and how it is measured will allow researchers to have a clearer picture of the role that equipment plays in opportunities for children to be physically active.
Montandon, Kristi (2012). Equipment Availability in the Home and School Environment: Its Relationship on Physical Activity in Children. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from