Better Health-Related Fitness in Youth: Implications for Public Health Guidelines Page: 382
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Int J Exerc Sci 10(3): 379-389, 2017
Study approval was received prior to data collection from the university Institutional Review
Board. Written parental consent and child assent were obtained once the school district and
principals at the six middle schools gave permission to conduct the study. Trained research
assistants assisted the physical education instructors during data collection at each school for
one week to administer the FitnessGram, and students responded to the item that assessed
their aerobic PA. Because not all physical education teachers were trained equally to conduct
the FitnessGram assessment, a certified FitnessGram administrator supervised all the testing
procedures. The presence of a certified administrator has been found to improve accuracy (9)
and schoolteachers have been found to record accurate results (13).
Additional individual demographic information was provided by the school district including
age, sex, race, and socioeconomic status (SES). Age was determined according to each
participant's FitnessGram completion date, and they were labeled as being either white or
nonwhite for race. SES level was based on federal guidelines for determining which students
qualified for free or reduced lunches at the school based on family income
(www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Lunch/). Participants were categorized into one of the following
two groups for SES: receiving a free or reduced lunch or not receiving any assistance. No other
identifying information was collected, and students at each school were entered into a
drawing for cash prizes as an incentive to participate. Data were collected during the 2010-
2011 academic year and analyzed in 2015.
Data were managed and analyzed using SPSS version 22. Descriptive statistics included
demographic information (age, sex, race, SES, and school site) and the prevalence of meeting
the 2008 guideline for daily aerobic PA. Descriptive discriminant analysis (DDA) was
conducted as the primary analysis to determine whether differences existed in the dependent
variables (i.e., of PACER laps, push-ups, curl-ups, height of trunk lift, and BMI) as a function
of independent variable (i.e., the number of days with 60 minutes of self-reported aerobic PA
during the past 7 days). Two models were used to investigate this relationship, and alpha level
was set at .05. Model 1 assessed the direct relationship between aerobic PA and the dependent
variables, and Model 2 examined the same relationship while controlling for age, sex, race,
SES, and school site. These covariates were used because previous research has found evidence
of these variables influencing health-related fitness (2, 3, 5, 20, 25). Secondary analysis
included five chisquare tests to investigate the relationship between days of aerobic PA and
Healthy Fitness ZoneTM (HFZ) status for each of the five components of the FitnessGram. This
included tests for aerobic capacity (i.e., PACER), body composition (i.e., BMI), and muscular
fitness (MF; i.e., push-up, curl-up, and trunk lift).
Demographic and descriptive data (i.e., meeting the guidelines for aerobic PA, sex, race, SES,
and school site) are presented in Table 1. Means and standard deviations for each component
of the FitnessGram are presented in Table 2. To estimate the effect of being more physically
active, an effect size was calculated comparing 7 days to 0 days for each fitness variable (Table
International Journal of Exercise Science 382 http://www.intjexersci.com
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Barton, Mitch; Jackson, Allen W.; Martin, Scott B.; Morrow, James R.; Petrie, Trent A. & Greenleaf, Christy. Better Health-Related Fitness in Youth: Implications for Public Health Guidelines, article, April 4, 2017; Bowling Green, Kentucky. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc974451/m1/4/: accessed February 16, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Education.