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Participation and physical activity in organized recess tied to physical education in elementary schools: An interventional study


Vanluyten, K. et al.



Preventive Medicine Reports

Tipo de publicación

Artículo de revista



Palabras clave

Child health; Health prevention; Obesity; Physical health; School intervention.


Maintaining physical activity habits is important for long-term health benefits. Many children do not achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) benchmark of 60 min Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) daily. Comprehensive school physical activity programs (CSPAP) target all opportunities at school for children to be physically active. The purpose of this intervention study was to investigate boys' and girls' voluntary participation and MVPA in physical activity recess sessions during and after these were connected with the content of physical education. 147 (55 girls, 92 boys; mean age = 8 years) second grade children from seven different schools received a 10-lesson parkour unit in physical education and were concurrently offered five parkour recess sessions. After the parkour unit in physical education (i.e., maintenance) another five parkour sessions in which children could voluntarily participate were organized. Systematic observation tools were used to assess children's MVPA. Overall participation in parkour recess was 64% for both boys and girls. Participation decreased from intervention to maintenance phase for both boys (75% vs 54%; p < .001) and girls (80% vs 49%; p < .001). MVPA was higher for boys compared to girls in parkour recess (64% vs 58%; p = .002) and traditional recess (49% vs 39%; p = .006), but not in physical education (40% vs 37%). One aspect of physical activity promotion is to connect recess activities with the content taught in physical education, which could contribute up to 20% of the daily recommended MVPA. Positive effects maintained when the connection between physical education and recess stopped.


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