Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of School Health 89:1 (January 2019), pp 3-10.

doi 10.1111/josh.12706


Copyright © 2018 American School Health Association; published by John Wiley. Used by permission.


Background: Physical activity (PA) has long been acknowledged to contribute health benefits among children. However, research has consistently shown that PA declines as children grow older. Thus, this study examined the factors which are associated to children’s PA in order to identify potential barriers to PA.

Methods: Using data from the KidQuest Program, we conducted bivariate and multivariate analyses on survey data collected from fifth to seventh grade students in a small Midwestern city.

Results: We found that food knowledge, eating breakfast, and talking with family about eating healthy foods, are positively related to PA. On the

other hand, screen time is negatively related to PA. In addition, our results evinced differences between ethnicities and found that Latino children’s screen time affects their PA levels more than their white counterpart.

Conclusions: There are different factors which can be tapped to increase PA among middle school-aged children. Given the differences between the Latino and white samples especially in screen time, schools should consider individualized intervention, rather than a ‘‘one size fits all’’ program, to increase PA participation.