What children value : a scale to guide health promotion programs
Foster, Kelly A.
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Objective. Physical activity is important for the health of all human beings. Although it is important to develop good health promotion programs for children to increase participation in physical activity, to date there appear to be no programs based on what kids value beyond health and physical activity itself. This study proposed to create a scale with strong content and face validity that could uncover what any given population of children value in life regardless of their participation in physical activity and that experts feel could be related to physical activity. These findings will allow the development of targeted health promotion programs to increase children's participation in regular physical activity. Method In this study, a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches was used. Data were gathered from seven experts in the field, sixty-seven children in grades three to five, five parents, and three teachers. From these data response groupings were created and sent to four experts to be given single word names. The resulting nine theme names were re-worked into "child-friendly" language. Four children were then asked to discuss theme names to see if they liked and understood them. The next step involved asking children and experts to rank order the nine themes, the children in general and the experts in terms of relevance to physical activity. From these results, possible versions of the scale were then created using the combined expert/children rankings. Each version was examined for content validity. Two versions of a scale resulted. These were sent to experts, parents, teachers and children in order to determine which one they liked better and to suggest any foreseeable problems. Once this information was collected, a beta (final prototype) version of the scale was created. Results. Nine common theme names were created from the response groupings. All four children agreed that they did understand and like each of the nine theme names. Experts and teachers agreed that full coverage of the content had been achieved. Children suggested a single wording change from "Being Accepted" to "Being Included". Five themes were selected for inclusion. The beta version of the scale included 12 forced choice statements, the first ten comparing all themes against one another followed by two anchor statements. Conclusion. At the outset it was recognized that it is essential to know what children think is important in their lives in order to serve as potential benefits in the development of effective physical activity promotion programs. This study developed a scale which could be used to determine what a population of children feel is important in order to focus health promotion programs for physical activity. The scale has strong face and content validity.