Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Senlin Chen


Physical education (PE) is a key channel to influencing youth physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) but it has proven difficult to improve the quality of PE lessons. SWITCH PE is a concept-based PE curriculum that helps shape healthy behaviors in relation to the energy-balanced lifestyle. The purposes of this study are to evaluate (a) whether a SWITCH PE can provide recommended amounts of PA in PE and (b) whether SWITCH PE can impact children’ s daily PA and SB levels. Data were collected from fourth and fifth grade students at four elementary schools in Iowa (with two schools in the experimental group and two in the control group; N = 475). Children’s in-class PA during PE were monitored via Actigraph GT3X+w accelerometer. Their overall PA and SB were pre- and post-measured using the Youth Activity Profile (YAP). Descriptive statistics and two-way (time and group) repeated measure analyses of variance were conducted to address the research questions. The SWITCH PE lessons yielded similar distributions of SB, LPA and MVPA as regular PE lessons. The SWITCH PE lessons did not meet the absolute standard for in-class PA (i.e., MVPA for 50% of the PE time) but neither did the regular PE lessons. There was no statistical difference in PA levels at home by time or group (p>.05) between youth in SWITCH PE or traditional PE classes. There was a significant group difference in PA at school (Pre: F1, 926=6.36, p<0.01; Post: F1, 926=9.42, p<0.01, η2 = .017) but this difference was driven by the significantly lower scores at one SWITCH PE school (i.e., School 1). The time effect for PA at school was not significant. The levels of SB at both SWITCH PE and regular PE schools decreased over time. However, only the SWITCH PE schools demonstrated significant decrease from baseline (F1, 928=7.33; p<0.01, η2 = .006). In conclusion, SWITCH PE provided similar amounts of MVPA as regular PE but levels did not meet recommendations for MVPA time in PE (i.e. 50% of the class time). SWITCH PE did not significantly impact students’ behavior outsides of school but the education on lifestyle behaviors may have long term benefits. The SWITCH PE program is an innovative addition to the SWITCH program but further work is needed to improve the lessons.

Copyright Owner

Yoon Ho Nam



File Format


File Size

63 pages

Included in

Kinesiology Commons