Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Exercise and Health Science

First Advisor

Sarah M. Camhi

Second Advisor

Jessica Whiteley

Third Advisor

Richard Fleming


Introduction: In order for children to better meet the daily physical activity requirements, researchers have been implementing physical activity interventions in schools and communities. Researchers have found that enjoyment of physical activity can increase physical activity levels. Although, there hasn’t been enough research on enjoyment and physical activity in regard to children, specifically in populations with more diverse incomes and racial minorities. The purpose of this study was to assess the enjoyment and rates of physical activity of various activities in a community-based youth fitness program aimed at increasing youth engagement in daily physical activity. Methods: This study was done on a six-week community-based fitness program for children ages 8-12 that had been implemented into Dorchester, MA. There were two weeks where data on enjoyment and physical activity were collected. Enjoyment was assessed using a one item survey and a 7-point Likert scale. Physical activity was assessed using pedometers, heart rate monitors, and RPE scores. Finally, children were asked to choose which activity they enjoyed more and why. Paired t-tests, ANOVA and post hoc tests were used to find differences between and within cardiovascular (CV) and muscular strength (MS) activities. Chi square and McNemar tests determined differences in enjoyment and RPE scores between and within CV and MS activities. Spearman correlation tests were conducted to determine relationships between enjoyment and physical activity intensity.

Results: The results indicated just one significant relationship between enjoyment and heart rate for muscular strength activity two (rs= -0.866, p=0.005). There were no significant differences in enjoyment or physical activity intensity within the CV activities or within the MS activities. Between the CV and MS activities, there were significant differences in heart rate (p=0.0009) but not in enjoyment (p=0.218) or RPE (p=0.585).

Discussion: The results showed no significant positive relationships between enjoyment and heart rate, RPE, or step count. Participants gave higher enjoyment scores to activities they scored low for RPE. When asked which of the activities they enjoyed more, they chose the activities with lower RPE scores but higher activity intensity. This could mean children’s perceptions influence their enjoyment more than activity intensity.


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