Engagement in Physical Activity During Recess: Gender and Grade Level Differences in the Elementary Grades

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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There are many purported benefits to recess including engaging in physical activity, forming positive peer relationships, and taking a break from the classroom. Current research, however, is inconclusive regarding the presence of gender and developmental differences in physical activity that takes place during recess. The purpose of this study was to examine differences in the amount of physical activity that occurs during recess across gender and grade level.


Students from first- and sixth-grade classrooms participated in the study, and physical activity was measured using accelerometers to record the number of steps taken during recess.


A 2 × 2 factorial ANOVA indicated sixth grade males engaged in more physical activity than sixth grade females, first grade males, and first grade females.


Because they are not engaging in as much physical activity as their sixth grade male counterparts, ways to help female and younger students take more steps during recess should be explored.

Wollersheim Shervey is with the Division of Counseling and Psychology in Education, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD. DiPerna is with the Dept of Education Counseling and Special Education, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.

Wollersheim Shervey (sarah.wollersheim.shervey@gmail.com) is corresponding author.