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Nicholas Riley, David R. Lubans, Kathryn Holmes and Philip J Morgan

Background:

To evaluate the impact of a primary school-based physical activity (PA) integration program delivered by teachers on objectively measured PA and key educational outcomes.

Methods:

Ten classes from 8 Australian public schools were randomly allocated to treatment conditions. Teachers from the intervention group were taught to embed movement-based learning in their students’ (n = 142) daily mathematics program in 3 lessons per week for 6 weeks. The control group (n = 98) continued its regular mathematics program. The primary outcome was accelerometer-determined PA across the school day. Linear mixed models were used to analyze treatment effects.

Results:

Significant intervention effects were found for PA across the school day (adjusted mean difference 103 counts per minute [CPM], 95% confidence interval [CI], 36.5–169.7, P = .008). Intervention effects were also found for PA (168 CPM, 95% CI, 90.1–247.4, P = .008) and moderate-to-vigorous PA (2.6%, 95% CI, 0.9–4.4, P = .009) in mathematics lessons, sedentary time across the school day (–3.5%, 95% CI, –7.0 to –0.13, P = .044) and during mathematics (–8.2%, CI, –13.0 to –2.0, P = .010) and on-task behavior (13.8%, 95% CI, 4.0–23.6, P = .011)—but not for mathematics performance or attitude.

Conclusion:

Integrating movement across the primary mathematics syllabus is feasible and efficacious.