Background: Physical activity and exercise offer numerous benefits to children and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines require that school children engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Unfortunately, up to 30% elementary students do not meet these requirements and 79% elementary schools do not provide students with physical education classes every day. The transition from elementary to secondary school is particularly deleterious for levels of physical activity. Therefore, there is a need to develop educational interventions for upper elementary school children to promote physical activity. A new theory multi-theory model (MTM) of health behavior change can be utilized to develop such interventions.
Objectives: The purpose of this article was to develop and introduce an instrument based on MTM for physical activity change in upper elementary school children and propose an approach for changing this behavior among sedentary students.
Methods: A review of literature in MEDLINE, CINAHL, Google Scholar, and ERIC databases was conducted for physical activity in upper elementary children and multi-theory model of health behavior change to prepare this article.
Results: An instrument with Flesch-Kincaid Grade level of 5.4 and the Flesch Reading Ease of 68 making it suitable for administration with upper elementary school children was developed. An approach utilizing the constructs of participatory dialogue, behavioral confidence and changes in physical environment to initiate physical activity and reifying the constructs of emotional transformation, practice for change and changes in social environment to sustain physical activity in upper elementary school children is presented.
Conclusions: MTM offers potential to augment current educational efforts to promote physical activity in upper elementary school children.