A “whole-of-school” approach is nationally endorsed to increase youth physical activity (PA). Aligned with this approach, comprehensive school physical activity programs (CSPAP) are recommended. Distinct components of a CSPAP include physical education (PE), PA during the school day (PADS), PA before/after school (PABAS), staff wellness (SW), and family/community engagement (FCE). The effectiveness of interventions incorporating multiple CSPAP components is unclear. A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted examining the effectiveness of multicomponent interventions on youth total daily PA.
Electronic databases were searched for published studies that (1) occurred in the US; (2) targeted K–12 (5–18 years old); (3) were interventions; (4) reflected ≥ 2 CSPAP components, with at least 1 targeting school-based PA during school hours; and (5) reported outcomes as daily PA improvements. Standardized mean effects (Hedge’s g) from pooled random effects inverse-variance models were estimated.
Across 14 studies, 12 included PE, 5 PADS, 1 PABAS, 2 SW, and 14 FCE. No studies included all 5 CSPAP components. Overall, intervention impact was small (0.11, 95% CI 0.03–0.19).
As designed, there is limited evidence of the effectiveness of multicomponent interventions to increase youth total daily PA. Increased alignment with CSPAP recommendations may improve intervention effectiveness.
Russ is with the Dept of Kinesiology and Health Science, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA. Webster (WEBSTERC@mailbox.sc.edu) is with the Dept of Physical Education and Athletic Training, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Beets is with the Dept of Exercise Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Phillips is with the Dept of Physical Education and Human Performance, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT.