A cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted to assess the effectiveness of the Active Classrooms intervention, which integrates movement into academic lessons, on the moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels (MVPA) of primary school children during class-time and throughout the school day.
Ten classroom teachers and their students aged 8 to 12 years were recruited and randomized into the Active Classrooms intervention group (n = 131students, n = 5teachers) or a delayed-treatment controlled group (n = 117students, n = 5teachers). The intervention group participated in active academic lessons taught by the classroom teacher over an 8 week period. Accelerometers were used to gather physical activity data at baseline, postintervention and at 4 months follow-up. Teachers completed a questionnaire to evaluate the program.
A significant difference for change in daily class time MVPA levels was identified between the treatment (n = 95) and control (n = 91) groups from pre- to postintervention (P < .001) and this difference was maintained at follow-up (P < .001). No significant difference emerged between the treatment and control groups for change in school day MVPA levels from pre- to postintervention (P = .52) or follow-up (P = .09). Teachers reported that they were highly satisfied with the program.
Movement integration has the potential to improve physical activity levels of primary school children in the classroom.
The authors are with the Dept of Arts Education and Physical Education, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.