Promoting physical activity (PA) in low- and middle-income countries is an important public health topic as well as a challenge for practice. This study aimed to assess the effect of a school-based intervention on different PA-related variables among students.
This cluster-randomized-controlled trial included 548 students in the intervention group and 537 in the control group (11–18 years-old) from 6 schools in neighborhoods with low Human Development Index (0.170–0.491) in Fortaleza, Brazil. The intervention included strategies focused on training teachers, opportunities for PA in the school environment and health education. Variables measured at baseline and again at the 4-months follow-up included the weekly time in different types of moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), preference for PA during leisure-time, PA behavioral change stage and active commuting to school. Generalized linear models and binary logistic regressions were used.
An intervention effect was found by increasing the weekly time in MVPA (effect size = 0.17), popular games (effect size = 0.35), and the amount of PA per week (effect size = 0.27) among students (all P < .05).
The intervention was effective in promoting improvements in some PA outcomes, but the changes were not sufficient to increase the proportion of those meeting PA recommendations.
Barbosa Filho, da Silva, and Lopes are with the Research Centre in Physical Activity and Health, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil. Beck is with the Federal Institute of Santa Catarina, Bilingual Campus Palhoça, Palhoça, Brazil. Mota is with the Research Centre in Physical Activity, Health, and Leisure, Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.