REFERENCE: Hovell, M. F., Bursick, J. H., Sharkey, R., McClure, J. (1978). An evaluation of elementary students' voluntary physical activity during recess. Research Quarterly, 49, 460-474.

A practical measurement procedure for evaluating children's levels of physical activity was developed and used to assess elementary students' recess activity. Further, the same measurement procedure was used with individuals engaged in aerobic-type recreations, which served as a standard to which ratings of the children's physical activity were compared. About 300 students, third through sixth grade, were observed for almost 5 minutes. Every 5 seconds their activity levels were rated as no activity, moderate, or vigorous. Results showed the students engaged in physical activity for only about 60% of their recess time. Further, when compared with an aerobic standard, the elementary students' performance was only slightly more than half as vigorous (p < .05) It was concluded that children do not voluntarily engage in sufficient aerobic activity during recess to be likely to increase their cardiorespiratory fitness. Special physical education may be warranted, and this measurement procedure could serve as a practical assessment tool for special training.


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