A Protocol for a Local Community Monitoring and Feedback System for Physical Activity in Organized Group Settings for Children

Ann M. Essay, Michaela A. Schenkelberg, Mary J. Von Seggern, Marisa S. Rosen, Chelsey R. Schlechter, Richard R. Rosenkranz, David A. Dzewaltowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Communities are wellness landscapes of geospatially and temporally bound settings where children spend their time. Improving population physical activity (PA) requires investigating available community settings for children, such as classrooms and sport teams, and the dynamic social interactions producing PA. This protocol describes a multiscale community wellness landscape monitoring and feedback system of adult-led organized group settings and PA outcomes for children. Methods: The data system assessed organized groups for third- through sixth-grade children in 2 rural communities within seasons (fall 2018-2019). Within each season, groups were identified, sampled, and recruited. Sampled group meetings were assessed for children's PA (accelerometry) and meeting routines (video observation). A data processing protocol time-segmented data into meetings and meeting routines into smaller units (sessions). A purpose code was assigned to each meeting (eg, classroom, sport) and session (eg, academic, PA). Group accelerometer data were paired with the coded segments. Multiscale metrics (season, meeting, and session) were generated and provided to the communities in tailored reports. Results: A total of 94 groups were recruited, and 73 groups with 1302 participants were included in the data system. Data were collected from 213 meetings and 844 sessions. Most participants (83.1%) consented to link their accelerometer data with demographic data from school enrollment records. Conclusions: The community data system identified available organized group settings for children and collected video and PA data from these settings. Incorporating setting data into local data systems provides detailed accounts of whole-of-community PA social systems to inform population health improvement efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


  • community systems
  • population health
  • rural
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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