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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Sport Sciences

First Advisor

J. Mark VanNess

First Committee Member

Margaret E. Ciccolella

Second Committee Member

Darrin Kitchen

Third Committee Member

Margarita Nosce


Incidence of childhood obesity has increased dramatically within the last 30 years. Childhood obesity is of concern because of the associated health problems, and because childhood obesity often tracks into adulthood. There is a clear association between activity-level and obesity. Therefore, it is important to consider physical activity patterns in the treatment and prevention of childhood obesity. Childhood is a key time period to intervene in the formation of habits and patterns associated with physical activity that may reduce obesity. To date, few studies have focused on the level of examining obese children individually.

This case study focused on the physical activity patterns of 4 obese 6-10 year olds (two boys, two girls). All of the participants were above the 99th percentile for weight and had a body fat percentage exceeding 45%. Lipid profiles of the participants revealed that three of the four had high total cholesterol, indicating an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. All of the participants were close to or exceeded the waist to hip ratio value that indicates very high risk for cardiovascular and related diseases (>0.82 for boys, >0.94 for girls).

Use of the Caltrac accelerometer, KIHD 24-Hour Total Physical Activity Record and System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time revealed that the obese 6-10 year old participants averaged 1.85 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per lunch recess time. When extrapolated, the data revealed that the participants spend less than 20 minutes a day in MVP A. This is less than MVP A norms of children in the same age group. The obese participants were not meeting the current recommendations for 60 minutes or more a day for MVPA.

Furthermore, the activity patterns of the participants differ from those of normal weight children. Although children in general and the participant's tend to choose low level activity over MVP A, the participants spent more than 16.5 hours per day in sedentary physical activity, which is more than their normal weight counterparts (10.4 +/- 0.8).



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