Background: Declining levels of children's physical activity are contributing to Australia's increasing childhood obesity epidemic. This research utilizes the use of the modified version of the Children's Activity Scanning Tool (CAST2) to determine whether there are significant differences between playground physical activity levels of children in 13 Illawarra Primary school playgrounds(Zask, A. et al 2001).
Methods: CAST2 was used to measure the playground physical activity levels of children at 13 schools in the Illawarra region of NSW.
Results: Playground observations indicate that there are significant differences between the proportions of active children at the schools involved in the study and between male and female populations. An analysis of variance of the mean proportion of activity data indicates that the monitoring period for CAST2 should be at least three days.The inter-rater reliability coefficient of CAST2 at all 9 schools indicates a high level of consistency between observers.
Conclusions: CAST2 observations indicate that there are significant differences between the proportions of active children at schools involved in the study and that the proportion of active males is generally higher than that of females. These results suggest that school environmental and policy factors may impede or contribute to children's playground activity levels.