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Increasing physical activity among children and adolescents continues to be a public health priority (Glickman et al., 2012), with a focus on evidence-based physical activity in school settings. While individual studies report benefits from school-based physical activity interventions, no data-based analysis of these interventions has been published. This meta-analysis examined the outcomes of 12 school-based interventions that reported data from both treatment and intervention groups. The design of each study was unique; including one or more of 19 dependent variables representing physical activity, knowledge, body composition, and cardiovascular measures, and one or more component of the Coordinated School Health Model (CSHM). Generally the benefits from the intervention were small and not significant; health knowledge was the exception. Interventions including more components of the CSHM and interventions of greater duration (e.g., more minutes) were associated with enhanced outcomes and explained 89% of the variance. Weaknesses in the design and analysis of some interventions were inappropriate experimental unit (individual rather than school), multiple analyses on the same data without correction (e.g., Bonferroni), multiple publications of the same data, and the inclusion of all students regardless of whether the student needed to increase physical activity/ftness or reduce body mass/fat.
Myers Schieffer was with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA. This review is from Myers Schieffer's M.S. thesis at Iowa State University, under the direction of Dr. Katherine Thomas Thomas, who is now with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation, University of North Texas, Denton, TX.