Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology & Public Health Education

First Advisor

Jesse Rhoades


Childhood obesity has become a significant health problem in the United States (Dietz, 1998, Blair et al., 2007, Robinson, Wadsworth, 2010). In children, obesity is defined as being at or above the 95th percentile for BMI according to age growth charts (Carroll, 2006). There are several approaches to combating the epidemic of obesity. In physical education classes, teachers are using are heart rate monitors and pedometers to assess the students' levels of physical activity (Blair et al., 2007). However, it is uncertain if elementary students better understand the results from the pedometer, or the heart rate monitor. A study of eight-second grade students from an elementary school PE class in North Dakota was conducted in November and December of 2010. This study took approximately two weeks, and consisted of a demographics interview, Interview 1, brief ten-minute lesson on the two devices, four classes with students using the devices, and a second interview. The purpose of this study was aimed at three areas of understanding. The first was the second grade students' ability to distinguish which numbers displayed on the device(s) are high or low numbers. Second, was the second grade students' ability to explain what the results from the tools represented. Third, was the second grade students' ability to explain why they would have received a high or low number on the device in comparison to physical activity levels. The results from this study not only indicate that with little instruction, these second grade students are able to distinguish between high and low numbers, but that they are also able to explain why they received high or low numbers on the devices after physical activity. However, it seems as though second grade students are still cognitively developing their ability to understand what the results from the tools represent. These findings imply that with little instruction, the use of heart rate monitors and pedometers at the second grade level are appropriate for assessing physical activity.