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August 1993

Habitual Physical Activity and Health-Related Physical Fitness in Fourth-Grade Children

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychology (Dr Sallis) and Physical Education (Dr McKenzie), San Diego (Calif) State University, and the Department of Mathematics, University of California, San Diego (Dr Alcaraz).

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(8):890-896. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160320092025

• Objective.  —To examine the relationship between habitual physical activity and components of health-related physical fitness in children.

Design.  —Cross-sectional survey with correlational analysis.

Setting.  —Seven public elementary schools in a suburban southern California city.

Participants.  —Five hundred twenty-eight healthy fourth-grade children (274 boys and 254 girls), 85% of whom were non-Hispanic whites. Ninety-eight percent of eligible students participated.

Interventions.  —None.

Measurements/Main Results.  —Results of six measures of physical activity in children (monitoring by accelerometer, parent report, and child self-reports of weekday activity, weekend activity, and summer involvement in activity classes and youth sports) were combined in a physical activity index. This index of habitual physical activity was examined in relation to measures of five components of health-related fitness: the mile run, skin-fold tests, pull-ups, sit-ups, and the sit-and-reach test. The physical activity index was significantly associated with all five fitness components. The canonical correlation was .29.

Conclusion.  —Active children appear to engage in a sufficient variety of activities to enhance multiple components of health-related fitness.(AJDC. 1993;147:890-896)