The Use of Wearable Activity Trackers in Schools to Promote Child and Adolescent Physical Activity: A Descriptive Content Analysis of School Staff’s Perspectives

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Background

The school environment is an ideal setting for promoting physical activity (PA). Wearable activity trackers (wearables) have previously been implemented, in research, as intervention tools within the school-environment. However, the large-scale use and acceptance of wearables, in schools, is unknown.

Methods

This study distributed a cross-sectional survey to school staff to investigate the prevalence of child and adolescent wearable use in schools, including when and how they are used, and school staff’s willingness to use them in the future (as implemented by school staff). This survey consisted of between 13 and 22 items, including closed-ended and open-ended questions. Closed-ended responses were displayed descriptively (wearable prevalence and characteristics), and open-ended qualitative responses were categorised using descriptive content analysis (how wearables are used).

Results

1087 school staff provided valid responses. Of those, 896 (82.4%) had never used a wearable as a teaching or support tool for their students, and 120 (11%) currently used- and 71 (6.5%) had previously used- a wearable as a teaching or support tool for their students. When wearables were used, school staff implemented their use regularly and during physical education lessons or throughout the entire school day. Wearables were used to monitor or increase student’s PA levels, or for student and staff educational purposes (e.g., academic learning, movement breaks). Most school staff were willing to use a wearable as a teaching or support tool to promote student’s PA, and/or learning about PA, in the future.

Conclusions

This study is the first study to explore the widescale use and acceptance of children and adolescents using wearables in the school-setting. Findings may inform the development of future school-based interventions and public health initiatives for physical activity promotion, using wearable

References: Creaser, A.V.; Frazer, M.T.; Costa, S.; Bingham, D.D.; Clemes, S.A. The Use of Wearable Activity Trackers in Schools to Promote Child and Adolescent Physical Activity: A Descriptive Content Analysis of School Staff’s Perspectives. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 14067. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192114067

Details:

Author(s):

Creaser, A.V.; Frazer, M.T.; Costa, S.; Bingham, D.D.; Clemes, S.A.

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