Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Exercise Science

First Advisor

Michael W. Beets


Background: During summer, children display less favorable movement behaviors than the school year. To investigate the role of environmental context in supporting children’s ability to meet the 24-hour Movement Guidelines (i.e., Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity: ≥ 60 minutes, Sleep duration: 9-11 hours, Screen Time: ≤ 2 hours), this dissertation had three primary aims: 1) Utilize the Positive Deviance Framework to identify unique practices and resources that enabled children to meet guidelines, 2) Examine potential associations between the neighborhood built and social environment with movement behaviors by household poverty experience, and 3) Identify specific features of the family and home environment that support children in meeting guidelines.

Methodology: Children’s (n=433, grades K-5, 48% female, 29.6% ≤200% Federal Poverty Level) behavioral and environmental context data was leveraged from an observational study at two timepoints (School Year and Summer of 2021). In Aim 1, qualitative interviews explored parent explanations of the facilitators and barriers of guideline adherence for their children. In Aim 2, multilevel linear regression was used to examine associations between neighborhood features and changes in movement behaviors between timepoints by poverty experience. In Aim 3, multilevel logistic regression examined the association between features of the family and home environment and the likelihood of meeting guidelines at each timepoint.

Results: In Aim 1, parents described a cascade of resources in which upstream structural resources (e.g., favorable work schedules, neighborhood community) facilitated family level resources (e.g., household rules/routines, parent modeling) which supported children in meeting guidelines. In Aim 2, most neighborhood features were not associated with changes in movement behaviors. In Aim 3, structured environments supported children in meeting guidelines. Across timepoints, out-of-school time program attendance was most consistently associated with meeting guidelines. During summer, structure within the home through bedtime rules was associated with meeting multiple guidelines.

Conclusions: Taken together, the findings suggest that upstream, structural resources and structured environments are crucial to support children in meeting guidelines during summer. Expanding access to structured, out-of-school time programming paired with parenting empowerment interventions may be an effective intervention strategy to improve children’s 24-hour movement guideline adherence.


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