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Background: Physical activity (PA) is important for controlling childhood obesity, but a comprehensive PA model for school-aged children is lacking.

Objectives: Guided by the youth PA promotion (YPAP) model, this study estimated the direct and indirect effects of self-efficacy, enjoyment, parental influence, and environment on self-reported PA and pedometer steps. A secondary purpose was to explore the association between self-reported PA and pedometer steps.

Methods: An observational and prospective study was conducted among 133 children, aged 8–11 years old, from 10 elementary schools with afterschool programs in a Midwestern U.S. school district from August through October 2013. PA was assessed by a 7-day recall scale and pedometers. Other variables were assessed by validated questionnaires.

Results: Approximately 65 (49%) children were overweight or obese—only 17 (13%) met national PA recommendations—and body mass index z score was negatively correlated with pedometer steps (r = .18, p = .042). A path analysis showed that self-efficacy had a direct effect on self-reported PA and pedometer steps, enjoyment had only a direct effect on self-reported PA, and parental influence had a direct effect on pedometer steps and an indirect effect on self-reported PA through self-efficacy and enjoyment. The association between self-reported PA and pedometer steps was not significant.

Discussion: Because this study only partially supports the YPAP model, studies with a larger sample size and longitudinal design are essential to further examine this model. The nonsignificant relationship of self-reported PA with pedometer steps may be due to the systematic error resulted from a common method artifact of self-report. Given the importance of parental influence, enjoyment, and self-efficacy, targeting these three determinants in future interventions to increase PA among children is recommended.

Original Publication Information

This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Nursing Research, volume 64, issue 3, in 2015, following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at DOI: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000084