Although schools can help with reaching the nationally established goals for children’s physical activity, physical education (PE) has been given a low priority compared to academic subjects and has been reduced in many U.S. communities (National Association for Sport and Physical Education, 2006). Even when PE is regularly administered in elementary schools, research suggests that only 10 to 36% of class time is spent with students participating in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (McKenzie et al., 1995; Simons-Morton, Parcel, Baranowski, Forthofer, & O’Hara, 1991; Simons-Morton, Taylor, Snider, & Huang, 1993), with the higher proportions of such time associated with classes run by PE specialists (McKenzie, Sallis, Kolody, & Faucette,1997). Unfortunately, the reductions in PE time are generally not made up outside of school. Therefore, after-school care may be an appropriate setting for administering physical activity interventions to children. Currently about 7 million children attend after-school care in the U.S., with a demand of approximately 22 million (Afterschool Alliance, 2004). In light of these statistics, after-school care might be a natural space for offering children the recommended amounts of 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous levels of exertion ( Strong et al., 2005).
Afterschool Alliance (2004) America after 3pm: A household survey on afterschool in America. Washington, DC
Mc Kenzie, T.L., Feldman, H., Woods, S.E., Romero, K.A., Dahlstrom, V., Stone, E.J., et al. (1995). Children’s activity levels and lesson contexts during third-grade physical education. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 66, 184-193.