Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Gilliland, Jason


Low levels of physical activity among Canadian children has become a national public health issue. Recent research has suggested that children’s physical activity levels are associated with their perceptions of their everyday environments. A better understanding of the formation of these perceptions within different contexts is needed to explain the extent of the relationship. Using a multi-tool quantitative protocol, this thesis examines geographic variation in socio-ecological factors influencing children’s perceptions of barriers to PA, and the extent to which perceptions mediate the relationship of the environment and PA. Results indicate that perceptions form within contexts, and have an influence on PA. The studies take place in Northwestern and Southwestern Ontario. This research provides a starting point for future research, policy, and practice to consider how structures of children’s environments determine experiences of PA, suggesting a new way to conceptualize behaviour to determine effective strategies for improving children’s PA and overall health.