University of Leicester
2021KhawajaIPHD.pdf (6.29 MB)

The physical activity and health status of British young people: a school year case study

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posted on 2021-12-01, 14:04 authored by Irfan Khawaja
Introduction: Children’s physical activity (PA) behaviours differ according to their surrounding environment. There is a need for continued exploration into children’s PA across the school year using a mixed-method design. The significance of this thesis provides a deeper understanding of children’s PA behaviours and health status, and this thesis implements a PA intervention informed by children’s voice. Aim: The aim was to design a moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) promoting intervention that was informed by children’s PA behaviours, which consequently informed the time of year, and time of day for when a PA intervention should be offered. Methods: Implementing a mixed-methods design, two exploratory studies investigated children’s heart rate (HR) and health status (Study 1), and children’s PA behaviours using HR and global positioning systems (GPS) – (Study 2). Studies 1 and 2 explored the PA behaviours of 119 children (aged 9-13 years, boys n = 57, girls n = 62) from a Middle school using HR monitors, GPS, PA diaries and focus groups. Anthropometric and cardiovascular fitness data were also collected. Study 3 applied a case study approach including a PA intervention underpinned by the Social-Ecological Model within the same school (aged 9-13 years, boys n = 31, girls n = 29). Results: The Spring term (winter months) showed children engaged in least amounts of MVPA, and also revealed the greatest number of children as overweight and ‘at risk’ of an obesity related disease according to BMI and waist -to-height ratio (WHtR) data. The child-informed PA intervention in Study 3 positively affected children’s MVPA, showing a 2.4% increase (8.2 minutes) in MVPA on intervention days compared with non-intervention days. Conclusion: The Social-Ecological Model underpinned the multi-staged mixed-methods design, and this approach effectively supports child-centred school-based PA programmes. Future research may wish to adopt a mixed-method approach when designing children’s PA interventions.



Lorayne Woodfield; Peter Collins; Alan Nevill; Adam Benkwitz

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Physical Education and Sports Studies

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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