The present study tested the effect of a school-based physical activity (PA) program on quality of life (QoL) in 540 elementary school children. First and fifth graders were randomly assigned to a PA program or a no-PA control condition during one academic year. QoL was assessed by the Child Health Questionnaire at baseline and postintervention. Based on mixed linear model analyses, physical QoL in first graders and physical and psychosocial QoL in fifth graders were not affected by the intervention. In first graders, the PA intervention had a positive impact on psychosocial QoL (effect size [d], 0.32; p < .05). Subpopulation analyses revealed that this effect was caused by an effect in urban (effect size [d], 0.38; p < .05) and overweight first graders (effect size [d], 0.45; p < .05). In conclusion, a school-based PA intervention had little effect on QoL in elementary school children.
Hartmann, Zahner, Pühse, and Kriemler are with the Institute of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Basel, St. Jakob-Turm, Basel, Switzerland. Puder is with the Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, CHUV, University of Lusanne, Lusanne, Switzerland.