BACKGROUND: An obesogenic environment where physical activity (PA) is limited can be deemed an important factor associated with the increased prevalence of childhood obesity. Physical education (P.E.) and recess should offer children opportunities to engage in sufficient moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), however, school-based PA policies remain ill-defined, underfunded, and difficult for schools to implement. Declines in youth PA testify to the need for a PA assessment model to positively impact the health of children. This study aimed to quantify in-school PA levels among elementary students during school hours. METHODS: Fourth grade public school students participated by donning an accelerometer (ActiGraph GT9X+, ActiGraph LLC, Pensacola, FL) on the right hip during school hours for 5 consecutive days. Tri-axial movement was recorded using 5-second ‘epochs’ and converted to minutes of PA according to previously published cut-points. PA logs were kept by teachers and demographic questionnaires were submitted by the parents of participating students. All data was imported to ActiLife (v6.13.4) software and analyzed by one-way ANOVA using SPSS (version 24, Chicago, IL). RESULTS: These results show students (N=102, male=54, female=48) averaged 4727.9±3053.7 steps per day and 13.0±7.9 min. of MVPA out of 79.5 min. of PA opportunity. During recess, 18% (8.9±4.9 min.) of daily offered time (50.4 min.) was considered MVPA. Combining sedentary and light intensities accounted for 82% of recess (41.4±22.6 min.). During daily P.E. opportunities (29.1 min.), 86% was accounted for when combining sedentary and light intensities (25.0±18.7 min). Only 14% of P.E. classified as MVPA (4.1±3.3 min./day). Questionnaires showed parents estimated students engage in 45.1±32.0 minutes of MVPA per day. CONCLUSIONS: An abundance of childhood waking hours are spent in school which presents a unique setting to address PA behaviors. These results show in-school PA was significantly lower than the recommended minimum of 30 minutes of MVPA as represented in the state mandate. This information provides valuable insight to the PA level and potential health status of children, which supports the need for P.A.C.E. to serve as a model for assessing in-school PA and implementing strategies to promote a more active learning environment. Future research will investigate the impact of strategic plans built around classroom-integrated activity.

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