Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology & Public Health Education


The purpose of this study was to investigate children’s physical activity levels when assessed by two methods—heart rates and direct observation. Forty-one participants wore Polar Vantage XL HR Monitors and were videotaped in various situations. Videotape analysis was done using the Children’s Activity Record System (CARS). Heart rates and CARS data were recorded concurrently every 10 seconds.

Primary research questions included: (a) is there a correlation between heart rates (HR) and observed activity level, (b) do gender differences exist, and if so, what are the differences in observed activity levels, (c) are there gender differences in Lean rates at various activity levels; and (d) to what extent did children meet various recommendations and official position stands on health and physical activity levels?

HR and CARS rating correlations were computed for each activity setting, and average correlations were calculated using Fisher’s transformation in each case. Analysis of data from ten males (ages 15-17) playing basketball for 48 minutes, revealed an average correlation between HR and CARS of r = .64, p < .05. For ten 3rd graders (3 males, 7 females) at school recess, HR and CARS correlated r = .76, p < .005. For fourteen children (8 males and 6 females) in 5th grade PE, HR and CARS correlated r = .63, p < .005. In a regular (sedentary) classroom setting, seven 4th grade children’s HR and CARS correlated r - .40, p - NS. Further correlation analyses were done with HR progressively lagged from 10-seconds to 60-seconds after CARS rating. In all activity settings, coefficients were progressively lowered with each 10-second HR time lag. In general, HRs reflected CARS ratings more clearly in varied activity rather than predominantly sedentary situations. HR appears to have reasonable validity for activity monitoring when data are collected at the shortest possible intervals allowed by the HR monitors.