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Movement Experiences for Children
KIN 366
Instructor: Dr. Shannon S.D. Bredin
Office Hours:
Class Schedule:
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Obesity is becoming more prevalent in today’s affluent society. The development of technology made media easily accessible and plays a large role in our thinking and behaviour. A study by Demissie, Lowry, Eaton, Sohyun, and Kann (2013) highlights this through their findings. Demissie et al. (2013) found that students with high media exposure were more likely to drink sugar-sweetened beverages and drink less water. Media envelops any means of communication that reach the people widely. This includes TVs, computers and mobile phones.

A study by Schwartz (2004) found older children and adolescents to model physical activity behaviours of their influential and respected characters in their lives. These characters include parents, peers and media figures (Schwartz, 2004). For adolescent girls, “peer and parental influences to be thin” were associated with greater physical activity hours per week. For adolescent boys, “peer but not parental influences to be fit were associated with greater physical activity hours per week” (Schwartz, 2004). Media comes into context when adolescents have the desire to look like figures in media (Schwartz, 2004). Schwartz (2004) has “observed a direct association between wanting to look like figures in the media and a positive health behavior, adolescent physical activity”. However, take into consideration that this was only true if adolescents had “healthy eating behaviors and low levels of weight concerns” and if the figures in media reinforced “realistic and healthy norms of physical activity and body image” (Schwartz, 2004).

Mass Media Messages Pertaining to Physical Activity

Mass media messages are frequently used to promote and educate people on the benefits of physical activity (Marcus, Owen, Forsyth, & Fridinger, 1998). When asked, the public generally had good recall of mass media messages, but physical activity behaviours changed very little, if at all (Marcus, Owen, Forsyth, & Fridinger, 1998). Messages through print or telephone were most effective in changing physical activity behaviour, but only in the short-term (Marcus, Owen, Forsyth, & Fridinger, 1998).There may be a misconception that messages targeted at youth are better received through new media technologies such as social media or the internet, but a study by Marks et al. (2006) state otherwise. Marks et al. (2006) found that increasing motivation for physical activity behaviour was more effective with a printed workbook than with an identical website.

VERB™ It’s what you do.

The VERB campaign was an American campaign started in 2002 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The campaign’s goal was to “encourage children 9 to 13 years of age to be physically active every day” (Huhman, et al., 2005). The VERB campaign used paid advertisements involving school and community promotions as well as the internet to deliver their messages (Huhman, et al., 2005). VERB’s strategy was to inspire youth to “explore what they like to do, discover new ways to be physically active, and pursue a variety of physical activities including participation in both free-time play and organized sports” (Asbury, Wong, Price, & Nolin, 2008). VERB was branded as the youth’s own brand, not something enforced by adults. (Asbury, Wong, Price, & Nolin, 2008). This was important in communicating their message to the youth to become physically active (Asbury, Wong, Price, & Nolin, 2008).

The issue with a public health branding strategy is that there is no physical product presented to the public (Asbury, Wong, Price, & Nolin, 2008). In order to overcome this barrier, promotional items with the VERB logo were distributed at public events. These items included “tattoos, balls, bracelets and flying discs” (Asbury, Wong, Price, & Nolin, 2008). These strategies paid off, as the parents and children who were aware of the campaign displayed positive behaviours. As the children’s awareness of VERB increased, the amount of free-time activity sessions increased as well. When compared to children who were unaware of the campaign, children who were aware of the campaign engaged in 34% more free-time physical activity sessions per week (Huhman, et al., 2005). As well, parental awareness of VERB improved attitudes, beliefs, and support for their child’s physical activity (Berkowitz, Huhman, & Nolin, 2008).


ParticipACTION was initially a Canadian non-profit private company formed in 1971 called Sport Participation Canada that was later renamed ParticipACTION (ParticipACTION Archive Historic Timeline, n.d.). ParticipACTION was operational for three decades before they took a six-year hiatus due to funding cuts. In 2007, grants from the federal government revived the organization. Upon revival, ParticipACTION’s goal was to promote physical activity to all Canadians, with focus on parents of children (Craig, Bauman, Gauvin, Robertson, & Murumets, 2009). As “one of the longest running mass health promotion campaigns in the world”, Craig, Bauman, and Reger-Nash (2010) have reported ParticipACTION to have increased leisure physical activity time in Canada.

When unprompted, one in four respondents of a survey were able to identify specific message content that was part of the ParticipACTION campaign (Craig et al., 2009). When prompted, the recall rate was much higher, at 54% (Craig et al., 2009). Knowledge about physical activity was associated with message recall, which was associated with physical acvitiy-related behaviours (Craig et al., 2009). The study by Craig et al. (2009) found high awareness of ParticipACTION’s message regarding “physical inactivity and the [increased] risk of chronic health problems”.

Electronic Usage – Electronic Entertainment and Communication Devices (EECD)

EECDs include video games, internet access, online chat, and smart phones. Electronic media use is increasing in children (Chahal, Fung, Kuhle, & Veugelers, 2013). With increased accessibility, children are able bring the media into their bedrooms. This, combined with night-time use were “associated with shortened sleep duration, excess body weight, poorer diet quality, and lower physical activity levels in a statistically significant manner” (Chahal et al., 2013). In adolescent girls, “media use was negatively associated with self-esteem and commitment to physical activity” (Racine, Debate, Gabriel, & High, Journal of School Health).


TV viewing is associated with unhealthy snacking behaviours, lengthy periods of physical inactivity, and obesity (Rey-López, et al., 2012). Adolescents who spend excessive time watching TV are prone to obesity regardless of the physical activity levels (Rey-López, et al., 2012). Furthermore, if there is a TV in a child’s bedroom, TV viewing time is even greater (Soos, et al., 2014).

A study by Jago et al. (2012) found a strong association between parental TV-viewing time and child TV-viewing time. Between maternal and paternal TV-viewing time, “maternal TV-viewing time was a stronger predictor of child TV-viewing time” (Jago, et al., 2012). Furthermore, the time spent watching TV across adults and children were disporptionate. If the parent watched more than 2 hours of TV per day, the child was at risk for watching more than 4 hours of TV in a day (Jago, et al., 2012). Access to electronic game equipment also increased the time children spent on electronic media (Jago, et al., 2012). The findings by Jago et al. are supported by previous studies done in Northern Europe, Australia, and the U.S. The results of the study by Jago et al. (2012) suggests a “reduction in the amount of time spent watching televison”. However, this does not mean the extra time will be spent on healthy living. For this suggestion to be completely beneficial, the time allocated away from television watching should be done doing physical activity (Clocksin, Watson, Williams, & Ransdell, 2009).


The presence of a computer in the bedroom of a child had similar effects to having a television in bedroom (Jago, et al., 2012). There is similar evidence for having a laptop in the bedroom. Both increased the likelihood that the child spent more than an hour a day on these mediums (Jago, et al., 2012).


Asbury, L., Wong, F., Price, S., & Nolin, M. (2008). The VERB™ Campaign: Applying a Branding Strategy in Public Health. American Journal of Preventive Medicine , 34 (6), S138-S187.

Berkowitz, J., Huhman, M., & Nolin, M. (2008). ). Did Augmenting the VERB™ Campaign Advertising in Select Communities Have an Effect on Awareness, Attitudes, and Physical Activity? American Journal of Preventive Medicine , 34 (6), S257-S266.

Chahal, H., Fung, C., Kuhle, S., & Veugelers, P. (2013). Availability and night-time use of electronic entertainment and communication devices are associated with short sleep duration and obesity among Canadian children. Pediatric Obesity , 8 (1), 42-51.

Clocksin, B., Watson, D., Williams, D., & Ransdell, L. (2009). Integrated Health and Physical Education Program to Reduce Media Use and Increase Physical Activity in Youth. Physical Educator , 66 (3), 149-168.

Craig, C., Bauman, A., & Reger-Nash, B. (2010). Testing the hierarchy of effects model: ParticipACTION's serial mass communication campaigns on physical activity in Canada. Health Promotion International , 25 (1), 14-23.

Craig, C., Bauman, A., Gauvin, L., Robertson, J., & Murumets, K. (2009). ParticipACTION: A mass media campaign targeting parents of inactive children; knowledge, saliency, and trialing behaviours. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity , 6, 88-94.

Demissie, Z., Lowry, R., Eaton, D., Sohyun, P., & Kann, L. (2013). Electronic Media and Beverage Intake Among United States High School Students--2010. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior , 45 (6), 756-760.

Huhman, M., Potter, L. D., Wong, F. L., Banspach, S. W., Duke, J. C., & Heitzler, C. D. (2005). Effects of a mass media campaign to increase physical activity among children: year-1 results of the VERB campaign. Pediatrics , 116 (2), e277-e284.

Jago, R., Stamatakis, E., Gama, A., Carvalhal, I. M., Nogueira, H., Rosado, V., et al. (2012). Parent and child screen-viewing time and home media environment. American Journal of Preventive Medicine , 43 (2), 150-158.

Marcus, B., Owen, N., Forsyth, L., & Fridinger, F. (1998). Physical activity interventions using mass media, print media, and information technology. American Journal of Preventive Medicine , 15 (4), 362-378.

Marks, J., Campbell, M., Ward, D., Ribisl, K., Wildemuth, B., & Symons, M. (2006). A comparison of Web and print media for physical activity promotion among adolescent girls. Journal of Adolescent Health , 39 (1), 96-104.

ParticipACTION Archive Historic Timeline. (n.d.). Retrieved February 28, 2015, from ParticipACTION Archive:

Racine, E., Debate, R., Gabriel, K., & High, R. (Journal of School Health). The Relationship Between Media Use and Psychological and Physical Assets Among Third- to Fifth-Grade Girls. 2011 , 81 (12), 749-755.

Rey-López, J. P., Ruiz, J. R., Vicente-Rodríguez, G., Gracia-Marco, L., Manios, Y., Sjöström, M., et al. (2012). Physical activity does not attenuate the obesity risk of TV viewing in youth. Pediatric Obesity , 43 (2), 240-250.

Schwartz, K. (2004). The influence of wanting to look like media figures on adolescent physical activity. Journal of Youth Ministry , 3 (1), 97-101.

Soos, I., Ling, J., Biddle, S. H., Hamar, P., Sandor, I., Boros-Balint, I., et al. (2014). Physical activity, sedentary behaviour, use of electronic media, and snacking among youth: an international study. Kinesiology , 46 (2), 155-163.