Physical activity indicators reported in the present study partly conduced a grading of the physical activity indicators showed in Thailand’2016 Report Card . It was found that children and youths had an active play grade of “F”, indicating that only 0–20% of them met the defined benchmark. At the same time, sedentary behavior of children and youths received a grade of “D–”, meaning that 21–25% of them met the optimal level. A better grade was given to the time spent with family and peers, in which 66–75% of children and youth met the guideline, resulting in a grade of “B” . Taken together, Thai children and youths lowly participated in physical activity and active play, their sedentary behaviors are high. These results also reflect an increasing in physical inactivity and sedentary behavior among children and youths [11, 25]. Since physical inactivity and sedentary behavior have contributed to the global burden of various morbidities and premature mortality . This incident in children and youths thus should be strongly concerned. In the present study, active play was found to be associated with time spent with family and peers in all age groups. It supports the idea that the family and peers is an important factor for enhancing physical activity in children and youths [7,8,9,10]. A strategy for increasing active play and time spent with family and peers combined with a lessening in sedentary behavior may fight against the problems of an increasing physical inactivity and sedentary behavior and support health promotion in children and youths.
The mean and range of the TCT-DP score of children and youths in the present study were in line with the previous studies [27,28,29,30], it also indicated that there was a limited number of students with high-creativity abilities. An increasing in the TCT-DP according to age group can be explained by the fact that the brain region involved in generating creative ideas does not mature until humans pass their 20th birthday [20, 21]. Differences in creative thought were discovered between different age groups, using functional magnetic resonance imaging while participants carried out divergent thinking tasks . It was demonstrated that default and executive networks were more functionally coupled for creative process in older than younger adults . Although age has been found to affect creativity, there is a creativity difference among age-matched individuals . This fact supports the idea that a high creativity ability may associate with other factors affecting cognitive function. The present study thus aimed at exploring the correlation between physical activity indicators and creativity in children and youths. Creativity was determined through using TCT-DP which has been considered a reliable test . However, Jankowska et al. . reported that TCT-DP might also require a specific profile of gaze distribution or self-regulation strategies because the more time participants spent looking at the many pieces in the test sheet, the higher their scores were. The dwell time for a single fragment, in contrast, was negatively related to the TCT-DP score .
As mentioned previously, the optimal level of physical activity has been reported to improve cognitive function [1,2,3]. In childhood, physical activity is associated with the intelligence and emotional quotients [16,17,18]. Latorre Román et al. in 2017 , reported the association between physical fitness and creativity in elementary school children (n = 308, age from 8 to 12 years). The participants completed a fitness test battery and the Prueba de Imaginación Creativa para Niños (PIC-N; Creative Imagination Test for Children). It was observed that physical fitness was positively correlated with creativity, and boys had better physical fitness and higher creativity skill . In the present study, the difference in creativity were not observed between genders. The association between creativity and physical activity indicators was specifically monitored according to age groups divided by the age structure and education in Thailand. The result thus reflects that association in each age group in which their cognitive and physical functions are different. In addition, this study pointed to the physical activity indicators, including active play, time with family and peers, and sedentary behavior which has been frequently reported to affect physical activity and physical fitness in children and youth [5,6,7,8,9,10]. The results showed that creativity was associated with active play in adolescents; however, the association was not found in participants aged 6–14 years. All results of physical activity indicators were collected by using a self-report instrument, recall ability has been reported as a weakness of the self-report instrument . Recalling the types and amount of time spent in physical activity might be difficult for children, especially in the youngest age group . Since active play has been reported as the directly indicator of physical activity in children and youths [5, 6]. The present study thus supports the finding that physical activity is essential for cognitive development in children and youths [13,14,15]. Increased physical activity, especially in active play may be a strategy for facilitating creativity. Nevertheless, the present results also implied that there are many factors related to creativity. To enhance creativity ability in this generation, more information is needed to clarify other factors associated with creativity.
Limitations and future plan
Health status reported in the present study was observed only through health report obtained from a class teacher, but more demographic and health condition information should be considered for future studies as well. As physical activity is important for cognitive function and related with intelligence quotient, emotional quotient, and creativity skills in childhood. Future longitudinal study thus plan to investigate the difference of these variables in adolescents with low and high physical activity. An objective measurement of behaviors and a screening tool for assessing the time spent with family and peers should be consider included.