We tested a low-cost and scalable set of classroom equipment, called Active Classroom Equipment, which was designed to promote physical activity while children learn. We hypothesized the Active Classroom Equipment would be associated with increased physical activity without impairing learning.
Fourteen first-grade students in a public elementary school (7 females, 7 males, aged 6.9 ± (SD) 0.4 years, 24 ± 5.4 kg, BMI 15.8 ± 2.6 kg/m2) used the Active Classroom Equipment for 30 minutes each day throughout the school year. Five-day physical activity was measured using validated triaxial accelerometers at baseline (before the intervention began) and on 4 sequential occasions during the 9-month intervention.
For the baseline period, 5-day physical activity averaged 157 ± 65 AU/min. When the 14 children accessed the Active Classroom Equipment, their mean 5-day physical activity was 229 ± 103 Acceleration Units (AU)/min (P < .0001). There were sequential increases in physical activity over the 9-month intervention (Quarter 1: 163 ± 94 AU/min, Quarter 2: 227 ± 108 AU/min, Quarter 3: 278 ± 61 AU/min, Quarter 4: 305 ± 65 AU/min). Students’ Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) scores improved.
Active Classroom Equipment may be one approach to increase physical activity.