Physical activity in after-school programs: Comparison with physical activity policies

Michael W. Beets, Rohan Shah, Robert Glenn Weaver, Jennifer Huberty, Aaron Beighle, Justin B. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: After-school programs (ASPs) across the nation have been asked to increase the amount of activity children accumulate during such programs. Policies/standards that benchmark the amount of total activity (light-to-vigorous physical activity, LVPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) accumulated in an ASP have been developed. Little is known about the prevalence of children meeting these goals. Methods: Children (N = 812, 6 to 12 y old) attending 19 ASPs wore accelerometers for 4 days while attending an ASP. LVPA and MVPA were dichotomized according to existing ASP policies/standards. Data on whether a policy/standard was met were compared between gender, age, BMI, race/ethnicity, and ASP-type (faith-, school-, community-based) using mixed-model logistic-regression. Results: The prevalence of meeting an LVPA policy/standard ranged from 75.4% (National Afterschool Association [NAA], 20% of program time spent in LVPA) to 97.8% (NAA, 20% of time in attendance spent in LVPA), and meeting an MVPA policy/standard ranged from 0.3% (California, 60 min MVPA/d) to 26.9% (North Carolina, 20% of attendance spent in MVPA). Boys, younger children, nonwhites, and children attending faithor community-based ASPs were more likely to meet any policy/standard. Conclusion: Current practice in ASPs is sufficient to meet LVPA policies/standards but insufficient to meet MVPA policy/standards. Efforts must be directed toward identifying the most appropriate policy/standard and strategies to meet it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Human Kinetics, Inc.


  • Accelerometry
  • Children
  • Guidelines
  • Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity
  • Standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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