Difference in Outdoor Time and Physical Activity During Recess After Schoolyard Renewal for the Least-Active Children

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: It remains unclear if schoolyard interventions “just” provide more opportunities for those children who are already active. The authors wanted to investigate schoolyard use and physical activity (PA) among the least-active children during recess following schoolyard renewals. Methods: An intervention study design with preresults and postresults comparison was used. Accelerometer and global positioning system data were collected at 6 Danish schools from 553 children at baseline and 439 after renewals (grades 4–9). Based on mean minutes of recess moderate to vigorous PA per child per school, the least-active children were defined as all children in the lowest activity quartile at baseline and follow-up, respectively. Results: One hundred and thirty-five children (70% girls) at baseline and 108 (76% girls) at follow-up were categorized as the least-active children. At follow-up they accumulated more time (12.1 min/d) and PA (4.4 min/d) in the schoolyard during recess compared with baseline. The difference in schoolyard PA found for the least-active children was relatively small compared with the difference for all children. Conclusions: Solely improving the physical schoolyard environment seemed to have limited impact on the least-active children’s PA. Future studies should investigate the complex interrelations between the least-active children and the entire schoolyard environment.

The authors are with the Research unit for Active Living, Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

Pawlowski (cspawlowski@health.sdu.dk) is corresponding author.
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