Effects of a classroom-based program on physical activity and on-task behavior

Activity Promotion Laboratory, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.
Medicine &amp Science in Sports &amp Exercise (Impact Factor: 4.46). 01/2007; 38(12):2086-94. DOI: 10.1249/01.mss.0000235359.16685.a3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study evaluated the effects of a classroom-based physical activity program on children's in-school physical activity levels and on-task behavior during academic instruction.
Physical activity of 243 students was assessed during school hours. Intervention-group students (N = 135) received a classroom-based program (i.e., Energizers). The control group (N = 108) did not receive Energizers. On-task behavior during academic instruction time was observed for 62 third-grade (N = 37) and fourth-grade students (N = 25) before and after Energizers activities. An independent groups t-test compared in-school physical activity levels between intervention and control classes. A multiple-baseline across-classrooms design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the Energizers on on-task behavior. Additionally, a two-way (time [pre- vs postobservation] x period [baseline vs intervention]) repeated-measures analysis of variance compared on-task behavior between observation periods. Magnitudes of mean differences were evaluated with Cohen's delta (ES).
Students in the intervention group took significantly (P < 0.05) more in-school steps (5587 +/- 1633) than control-group students (4805 +/- 1543), and the size of this difference was moderate (ES = 0.49). The intervention was effective in improving on-task behavior; after the Energizers were systematically implemented, on-task behavior systematically improved. The improvement in on-task behavior of 8% between the pre-Energizers and post-Energizers observations was statistically significant (P < 0.017), and the difference was moderate (ES = 0.60). Likewise, the least on-task students improved on-task behavior by 20% after Energizers activities. This improvement was statistically significant (P < 0.001) and meaningful (ES = 2.20).
A classroom-based physical activity program was effective for increasing daily in-school physical activity and improving on-task behavior during academic instruction.

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Available from: Matthew T Mahar, Aug 04, 2015
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    • "The worldwide imbalance in the educational system in favor of sedentary learning at the expense of physical activity has implication not only for children's physical health (Malina, 2013), but also for their cognitive and brain health. The consistent evidence of a positive relationship between physical activity, aerobic fitness, cognitive and brain function and, consequently, academic performance (Kwak et al., 2009; Donnelly and Lambourne, 2011; Tomporowski et al., 2011) should motivate policy makers to develop opportunities for increasing physical activity in the classroom and across the school day (Mahar et al., 2006). "
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    • "Only a small number of studies have focused on the use and effects of classroom PA breaks, so additional research is warranted. SO, for example, could be used to examine the frequency of activity breaks and to assess classroom behavior such as levels of attentiveness and on-task behavior before and after recess breaks and/or in-class PA breaks (e.g., Mahar et al., 2006). In addition to these variables, it is particularly important to use SO on school campuses to assess student PA and how it is affected by state/district/school policies related to recess and classroom breaks. "
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    • "Eight studies used a controlled trial design (Donnelly et al., 2009; Erwin et al., 2011b; Graham et al., 2014; Helgeson, 2013; Liu et al., 2008; Mahar et al., 2006; Reed et al., 2010; Trost et al., 2008). Of these, five randomised individual classes to either intervention (physically active lessons) or control groups (Donnelly et al., 2009; Helgeson, 2013; Mahar et al., 2006; Reed et al., 2010; Trost et al., 2008). "
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