Download the full-sized PDF of Physical Activity in the Era of the Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Patterns, Determinants, and Effective Health Promotion ProgramsDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Physical Activity in the Era of the Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Patterns, Determinants, and Effective Health Promotion Programs Open Access


Other title
childhood obesity
health promotion
physical activity
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Vander Ploeg, Kerry Ann
Supervisor and department
Veugelers, Paul (School of Public Health)
Examining committee member and department
Maximova, Katerina (School of Public Health)
McGavock, Jonathan (Pediatrics and Child Health)
Laing, Lory (School of Public Health)
Veugelers, Paul (School of Public Health)
Janssen, Ian (Community Health and Epidemiology)
Department of Public Health Sciences
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Physical activity is important for obesity prevention. Given that the prevalence of obesity among Canadian children has substantially increased over recent decades, and that obesity has substantial consequences for health and wellness, physical activity promotion continues to be a priority for public health. This thesis research aims to further our understanding of children’s behavioural patterns where they relate to physical activity and obesity. It also aims to identify factors and effective strategies that increase physical activity among children. These aims were assessed through six interconnected research papers. In the first paper we demonstrated that consideration should be given to activities not captured by pedometers as adjusting crude pedometer-measured steps for these activities substantially improved the ability to accurately assess children’s physical activity levels, and to identify children who were obese. In the second paper we revealed that policy makers should consider targeting physical activity in girls, and outside of school as these variables and time periods were characterized by low activity. In the third and fourth papers we showed that parental beliefs and support for physical activity were positively related to children’s physical activity achieved on weekend days, and negatively associated with childhood overweight. In the fifth paper we demonstrated that school programs that support physical activity through positive environments, curriculum, policy, and partnerships lead to improvements in children’s physical activity both during and beyond school. In the last paper, we revealed that programs implemented in schools located in disadvantaged neighbourhoods reduced inequalities in physical activity. Furthermore, we found that although the programs were implemented school-wide and did not specifically target student subgroups, they were effective in increasing physical activity relatively evenly among low-active, active, and high-active students. Likewise they relatively evenly reached normal weight and overweight students, and those of distinct socioeconomic backgrounds. The results of this thesis provide researchers and policy makers with new evidence on important determinants of physical activity in children from an Albertan context. They also underline the importance of supporting strategies for physical activity promotion and specifically school health programs as these improve physical activity, reduce obesity prevalence rates and diminish health inequalities.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Vander Ploeg KA, Wu B, McGavock J, Veugelers PJ. Physical activity among Canadian children on school days and non-school days. J Phys Act Health 2012;9(8):1138-1145.Vander Ploeg KA, Maximova K, Kuhle S, Simen-Kapeu A, Veugelers PJ. The importance of parental beliefs and support for physical activity and body weights of children: a population-based analysis. Can J Public Health 2012;103(4):277-281.Vander Ploeg KA, Kuhle S, Maximova K, McGavock J, Wu B, Veugelers PJ. The importance of parental beliefs and support for objectively measured physical activity on school days and weekend days among Canadian children. BMC Public Health 2013;13:1132-1138.Vander Ploeg KA, McGavock J, Maximova K, Veugelers PJ. School-based health promotion and physical activity during and after school hours. Pediatrics 2014;133(2):1-9.

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 2610349
Last modified: 2015:10:12 14:47:44-06:00
Filename: Vander Ploeg_Kerry_Spring2014.pdf
Original checksum: 703d558171b29914c2f97f791d0e3658
Well formed: true
Valid: true
File title: Vander Ploeg_Kerry_Spring2014
File author: Kerry Vander Ploeg
Page count: 185
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date