The morning recess period during school days represents a regular opportunity to accumulate physical activity (PA). However, little is known about the contribution of recess to PA guidelines (60 min/day in moderate-to-vigorous PA [MVPA]) in adolescents.
This study comprised 1065 Spanish adolescents (52% girls), aged 13 to 16 years. Adolescents completed a validated Recess PA Recall in 2007–2008. Differences in levels of PA during the recess period were analyzed by gender, age group, type of school, school location, immigrant status, weight status, fitness levels and snack eating during recess.
Adolescent boys spent more time in MVPA (7.7 vs. 6.4 min in MVPA, P = .009) and were more active (29.6% vs. 24.5% in MVPA, P = .007) than girls during the recess period. Adolescent boys in the youngest age group and with the school located in cities were more active than their peers (all P < .05). There were no differences in levels of PA during recess by all the descriptive characteristics in adolescent girls (all P > .05).
These findings suggest that recess in Spanish high schools may contribute to the daily recommended MVPA for adolescents, but greater efforts must be implemented to increase PA levels among adolescent girls during this school period.