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Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the acute effects of intermittent physical activity (2-min bouts of varying intensities) on psychological mood and enjoyment in elementary school-age children and to examine the effect of weight status on these psychological outcomes. Methods: A total of 39 children (healthy weight, n = 26; overweight/obese, n = 13) completed 4 experimental conditions in random order, which consisted of 8 hours of sitting interrupted with 20 two-minute low-, moderate-, or high-intensity activity breaks or 20 two-minute screen-time breaks. Mood was assessed using the Feeling Scale immediately following each break. Enjoyment was assessed using the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale immediately following 10 and 20 breaks. Results: Mood was significantly higher during the sedentary versus active conditions (P < .01). Overweight/obese children reported lower mood scores compared with healthy weight children at the initiation of the low- (P < .05) and high-intensity conditions (P < .001) but experienced improvements in mood throughout the day in all 3 active conditions (P = .02). Enjoyment was significantly higher after completing the active versus sedentary conditions (P = .02). Conclusion: These findings suggest that both healthy weight and overweight/obese children felt better immediately after engaging in screen-time breaks but subsequently rated the activity breaks as more enjoyable compared with screen-time breaks.
Nagy, O’Sullivan, Block, Tooley, and Hasson are with the Childhood Disparities Research Laboratory, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Nagy, O’Sullivan, Robinson, Colabianchi, and Hasson are with the School of Kinesiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Hasson is also with the School of Public Health, University of Michigan.