Correlates of after-school activity preference in children ages 5–12: The PARADE study

Amy Eyler, Marilyn S. Nanney, Ross C. Brownson, Debra Lohman, Debra Haire-Joshu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Activities that children choose to do after school can foster good health or promote a sedentary lifestyle. The goal of this study was to explore and contrast the preference of after school activities in a group of urban, low-income, Caucasian and African American children ages 5–12. The Partners of all Ages Reading about Diet and Exercise or (PARADE) program was designed to encourage young children to develop healthy eating and activity habits through a tutoring/mentoring program. This paper analyzed a subset of the baseline pre-test of the PARADE data from 817 children. Activity preferences were analyzed using a series of four correlates: age group, race, gender, and BMI category. The greatest significant differences in preferences of activities were found between African American and Caucasian groups, and females and males. Little variation in preference was found among the BMI groups or age groups. Fiftyfour percent of children reported that homework was a barrier to after school physical activities. Children across all groups reported that they should actively play at least one hour each day. An inventory of preferred activities may help inform programs geared toward increasing physical activity in after school hours. Race and gender differences should be addressed. Promoting fun, social, and low-cost physical activities may enhance enjoyment and improve participation. Programs should assess barriers to after school physical activities (e.g., homework) and include components such as time management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


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