Fisieke aktiwiteitsvlakke, sedentêre gedrag en akademiese prestasie by Graad 7-leerders in Potchefstroom
De Vos, Johanna Catharina Wilhelmina
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Research reports that physical activity levels of children and adolescents have decreased in the past few decades. This decrease causes deep concern because physical activity plays an important role in a healthy lifestyle, and several physical, psychological, spiritual and cognitive health risks are associated with physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour. Research also shows that a physically active lifestyle in the childhood years usually leads to a physically active lifestyle in adulthood. The aim of this study was firstly, to investigate the physical activity levels and sedentary behaviour of Grade 7 learners in Potchefstroom in the North West Province of South Africa. Secondly, to investigate the relationship between physical activity levels and sedentary behaviour, and academic performance in Grade 7 learners in Potchefstroom. Quantitative research, with a once-off cross sectional design was used to collect data from a sample of 230 Grade 7-learners (116 girls and 114 boys; 41 white learners, 141 black learners and 48 coloured learners) in Potchefstroom. The “Children’s Leisure Activities Study Survey” (CLASS) (Telford et al., 2004) validated for South African Grade 7 learners (Tian et al., 2014), was used to evaluate the nature and levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviour of participants. Learners’ main language, Mathematics and average academic end-of-year results were used as a measure of academic performance. Descriptive statistics were applied for determining means (M), minimum and maximum values, and standard deviations (SD) by means of the STATISTICA for Windows (Statsoft, 2015) and the Statistical Analysis System (SAS, 2011) computer programmes. Relationships between the physical activity levels and sedentary behaviour, and academic performance was analysed by means of Spearman correlation coefficients. The strength of the correlation is set at r≈0.1 indicating a small effect, r≈0.3 a medium effect and r≥0.5 a large effect (Cohen, 1988). To determine the significance of gender and ethnic differences, the data was further analysed by using independent t-tests (p≤0.05), and for purposes of the interpretation of practical significance of the differences, effect sizes (ES) were calculated. The results indicate that the average moderate to high-intensity physical activity levels of the total group (M=347.77 min/wk), boys (M=361.76 min/wk) and girls (M=334.03 min/wk) is lower than the 420 minutes per week (thus 60 minutes per day) as recommended by the WGO (2015) and the CDC (2015). The percentage of participants that do not comply with these guidelines for moderate to high-intensity physical activity levels vary between 70.7% and 71.9%. The results further indicate that boys participate more in moderate-intensity physical activity during weekdays than do girls, with practical significance of a small effect (ES=0.21). Boys’ total number of minutes spent on high-intensity physical activity during weekends was statistically significantly (p<0.05) more than that of girls, with practical significance of a medium effect (ES=0.48). No statistically significant difference was found between the genders regarding the total number of minutes of moderate to high-intensity physical activity per week, but indeed with practical significance of a small effect (ES=0.18). With reference to the number of minutes spent on sedentary behaviour no statistically significant differences were found between the boys and girls, although the girls showed more sedentary behaviour than the boys during weekdays, with practical significance of a small effect (ES=0.20). The difference between the boys and the girls concerning the total sedentary time per week, also inclined to practical significance of a small effect (ES=0.18). The physical activities with the highest participation in the participants’ free time were soccer, recreational swimming, jogging and dancing, while the sedentary activities with the highest participation were listening to music, riding a vehicle and being busy on the phone. Hence boys participated more in competitive sport-type physical activities, while girls participated more in non-competitive, recreational type of physical activities. Statistically significant (p<0.05) and practically significant correlations (r = between 0.10 and 0.45) were further found in the total group, boys and girls, between academic performance and the total amount of time spent on physical activity per week, the total amount of time spent on physical activity on weekends, as well as high-intensity physical activity during weekends. Small correlations were found between total physical activity per week and academic results of the girls, and between high-intensity physical activity and academic results of the boys. Statistically significant (p<0.05) negative relationships were further found in the total group, boys and girls, between academic performance and sedentary behaviour during weekends (r = between 0.12 and 0.30), as well as between academic performance and the total time on sedentary activities per week (r = between 0.16 and 0.41). The results of this study emphasise the importance of regular participation in physical activities and the limitation of time spent on sedentary behaviour among Grade 7 learners. For the sake of the promotion of learners’ health and academic performance, learners must therefore be motivated and empowered, amongst others by the presentation of effective Physical Education, so as to be physically more active and less sedentary, especially during weekdays. The results of this study further contribute to the selection and presentation of more relevant physical activities within Physical Education which will stimulate and maintain their interest.
- Education