Multiple models and frameworks exist for the measurement and classification of physical activity in adults that are applied broadly across populations but have limitations when applied to youth. The authors propose a conceptual framework specifically designed for classifying youth physical activity.
The Youth Physical Activity Timing, How, and Setting (Y-PATHS) framework is a conceptualization of the when (timing), how, and where (setting) of children’s and adolescents’ physical activity patterns. The authors developed Y-PATHS using the design thinking process, which includes 3 stages: inspiration, ideation, and implementation.
The Y-PATHS includes 3 major components (timing, how, and setting) and 13 subcomponents. Timing subcomponents include (1) school days: in-school, (2) school days: out-of-school, and (3) nonschool days. How subcomponents include: (1) functional, (2) transportation, (3) organized, and (4) free play. Setting subcomponents include: (1) natural areas, (2) schools, (3) home, (4) recreational facilities, (5) shops and services, and (6) travel infrastructure.
The Y-PATHS is a comprehensive classification framework that can help researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to better understand youth physical activity. Specifically, Y-PATHS can help to identify the domains of youth physical activity for surveillance and research and to inform the planning/evaluation of more comprehensive physical activity programming.