Perceived barriers and facilitators to participation in physical activity during the school lunch break for girls aged 12–13 years

Watson, Amanda, Eliott, Jaklin and Mehta, Kaye 2015, Perceived barriers and facilitators to participation in physical activity during the school lunch break for girls aged 12–13 years, European physical education review, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 257-271, doi: 10.1177/1356336X14567545.

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Title Perceived barriers and facilitators to participation in physical activity during the school lunch break for girls aged 12–13 years
Author(s) Watson, Amanda
Eliott, Jaklin
Mehta, Kaye
Journal name European physical education review
Volume number 21
Issue number 2
Start page 257
End page 271
Total pages 15
Publisher Sage
Place of publication London, Eng
Publication date 2015-05
ISSN 1356-336X
Keyword(s) qualitative
physical activity
school lunch break
focus groups
Summary Given the short- and long-term health implications associated with overweight and obesity plus the likelihood of overweight or obesity to continue into adulthood, addressing the causes of overweight and obesity in childhood is a significant public health concern. One underlying cause of overweight and obesity is insufficient physical activity. The Department of Health and Aging recommends children engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day; however, these recommendations are met less frequently with increasing age, and girls less often meet these recommendations than boys. School lunch times have been identified as an ideal time for maximizing children’s physical activity (PA), but studies have shown variable levels of PA among children during this time and research indicates that during school lunch times, girls are consistently less active than boys. Understanding influences on girls’ participation in PA during this time may help to increase levels of PA for this demographic. Two South Australian schools, one government and one independent, were included in the sample. Four focus groups (three or four participants per group: total 13 participants) focusing on girls’ perceptions of PA during the lunch break were conducted. Transcripts and field notes were analyzed using a social constructionist framework and thematic content analysis. The expectation to participate in activities considered “gender appropriate”, maturation, and bullying/teasing were identified as explicit barriers to participation in lunch time play. Other important barriers included a “girls’” school uniform and feelings of inadequate competency. The ability to renegotiate gender stereotypes, a unisex school uniform, and perceived high competency were important facilitators of lunch time PA. Low levels of lunch time PA evident in many young adolescent girls may be due to many complex social factors. Therefore, these barriers may need to be addressed before any environmental interventions are likely to be effective.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/1356336X14567545
Field of Research 1106 Human Movement And Sports Science
1302 Curriculum And Pedagogy
110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Sage
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
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