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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the limited efficacy of a high-intensity interval training (HIIT)-based fitness education unit in middle school physical education (PE). Method: The study took place in six PE classes at one middle school located in the southern United States. The authors conveniently assigned the classes to treatment (n = 3 classes; 113 students) or control (n = 3 classes; 119 students) groups. Two trained PE specialists implemented the HIIT lessons two to three times per week for 8 weeks. The authors collected mixed methods data at the student, class, and teacher levels for the evaluation. Results: The focus group teacher interview with the teachers, field observations, and accelerometer-determined in-class physical activity data revealed sound implementation fidelity. The HIIT-based fitness education condition also showed greater improvement in physical activity and fitness knowledge and attenuated decline in curl-up scores compared with the control. Conclusion: The findings support the limited efficacy of implementing HIIT for fitness education in middle school PE programs.
Chen and Wang are with the School of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA. Liu is with Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China. Androzzi is with the Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC, USA. Gu is with the University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA.