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ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Healthy Body Weight Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #315145

Research Project: Dietary Guidelines Adherence and Healthy Body Weight Maintenance

Location: Healthy Body Weight Research

Title: The effect of increasing autonomy through choice on young children’s physical activity behavior

Author
item Sanders, Gabe - Kent State University
item Juvancic-hertzel, Judith - Kent State University
item Barkley, Jacob - Kent State University
item Roemmich, James
item Feda, Denise - University Of Buffalo
item Williamson, Megan - Kent State University

Submitted to: Pediatric Exercise Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/26/2015
Publication Date: 4/1/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/62427
Citation: Sanders, G., Juvancic-Hertzel, J., Barkley, J., Roemmich, J.N., Feda, D.M., Williamson, M. 2016. The effect of increasing autonomy through choice on young children’s physical activity behavior. Pediatric Exercise Science. 13(4):428-432.

Interpretive Summary: Increasing autonomy by manipulating the choice of available physical activity options in a laboratory setting can increase physical activity in older children and adults. However, the effect of manipulating the number of physically active choices has yet to be examined in young children in a gymnasium environment. Twenty children (n = 10 girls, 6.1 ± 1.4 years old) individually participated in two (low choice (LC), high choice (HC)), free-choice activity conditions for 30 minutes in a 4,360 square foot gymnasium. Children had access to two or eight physical activity options in the LC and HC conditions, respectively. Physical activity behavior was measured via accelerometry. Children’s 30-minute accelerometer counts increased (p < 0.03) from the LC (2,675 ± 294 counts . min-1) to the HC (3,224 ± 280 counts . min-1) condition. Providing greater autonomy through choice of a greater number of physically active options increased young children’s physical activity participation by 20.5%.

Technical Abstract: Increasing autonomy by manipulating the choice of available physical activity options in a laboratory setting can increase physical activity in older children and adults. However, the effect of manipulating the number of physically active choices has yet to be examined in young children in a gymnasium environment. Twenty children (n = 10 girls, 6.1 ± 1.4 years old) individually participated in two (low choice (LC), high choice (HC)), free-choice activity conditions for 30 minutes in a 4,360 square foot gymnasium. Children had access to two or eight physical activity options in the LC and HC conditions, respectively. Physical activity behavior was measured via accelerometry. Children’s 30-minute accelerometer counts increased (p < 0.03) from the LC (2,675 ± 294 counts . min-1) to the HC (3,224 ± 280 counts . min-1) condition. Providing greater autonomy through choice of a greater number of physically active options increased young children’s physical activity participation by 20.5%.