Individual, Social, Physical Environmental, and Organizational Correlates of Children's Summer Camp-Based Physical Activity

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Title: Individual, Social, Physical Environmental, and Organizational Correlates of Children's Summer Camp-Based Physical Activity
Author: Hickerson, Benjamin Daniel
Advisors: Dr. G. David Garson, Committee Member
Dr. Myron Floyd, Committee Member
Dr. Jason Bocarro, Committee Member
Dr. Karla Henderson, Committee Chair
Abstract: Physical inactivity is a concern of public health as many children are not participating in enough physical activity to maintain a healthy profile. Evidence has also indicated that physical inactivity may be exacerbated during the summer months. To address these issues, researchers have begun exploring settings such as parks and schools to determine their role in facilitating physical activity. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine 8- to 12-year-old children’s physical activity in summer camps and determine correlates of their physical activity participation. The social ecological framework was used to arrange variables into conceptual factors including individual characteristics (i.e., age, gender, race, Body Mass Index, pre-camp physical activity), and social (i.e., counselor and peer physical activity), physical (i.e., size and number of facilities), and organizational (i.e., camper-staff ratio and programming) environments. Data were collected from 157 campers at four day camps and 132 campers at four resident camps. Campers at resident camps took 19,699 pedometer-recorded steps during full camp days while day campers took 11,916 steps during half camp days. Male gender, non-minority race, BMI below the 85th percentile, high peer group and counselor stepcounts, and larger and more physical activity facilities were positive bi-variate correlates of day camper physical activity. Male gender, non-minority race, BMI below the 85th percentile, high peer group stepcount, more physical activity facilities, more camp acreage, longer walking distance between programming areas, low camper-staff ratio, and intentional physical activity programming were positive bi-variate correlates of resident camper physical activity. Further analyses using ordinary least squares regression for factor level and full day and resident camp models indicated that individual characteristics may have the greatest influence on camper physical activity participation. In full models of camp physical activity, social, physical environmental, and organizational factors were also associated with resident camper physical activity, but physical and organizational factors were not significantly related to day camper physical activity. The findings from this study suggest that camp administrators can modify a range of variables to increase physical activity participation in camps.
Date: 2009-09-01
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/4746


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