Environmental Modifications to Increase Physical Activity During Recess: Preliminary Findings from Ready for Recess

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of Ready for Recess: an elementary school recess intervention targeting staff training (ST) and providing recreational equipment (EQ).


Ready for Recess had 4 intervention schools: 1) EQ+ST, 2) EQ, 3) ST, and 4) control. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was assessed with accelerometers at the four schools in 257 3rd- to 6th-grade children. Random intercept models for overweight/obese (OWOB) and healthy weight (HW) for boys and girls separately, examined change in percentage of time spent in MVPA during recess across EQ+ST, EQ, and ST compared with the control from baseline to postintervention.


HW boys receiving EQ+ST increased MVPA by 19.4%, OWOB boys receiving ST increased MVPA by 4.5%, OWOB girls receiving EQ-ST increased MVPA by 6.0%, while HW girls receiving EQ decreased MVPA by 13.6% in comparison with the control.


Ready for Recess represents a possible means to increase MVPA in OWOB girls/boys, populations least likely to meet MVPA recommendations. However, the effect of the intervention was not uniform across all subgroups.

Huberty is with the Dept of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Beets is with the Dept of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Beighle is with the Dept of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. Welk is with the Dept of Kinesiology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.