School-based physical activity programs can reach large populations of at-risk children however evidence for the sustainability of healthy behaviors as a result of these programs is mixed. Healthy Schools Healthy Families (HSHF) is a physical activity and nutrition program for elementary students in a predominantly minority community. The program includes short teacher led classroom-based physical activities, also known as Transition Exercises (TE). Our aim was to assess whether TE was associated with children’s reported recreational physical activity outside of school.
We surveyed HSHF students in grade 5 (n = 383) about their recreational physical activity at the start and end of the school year. Multivariable analysis was used to determine what factors including TE contributed to their reported activity.
Students were predominantly Hispanic with a mean age of 10 ± .03. There was an increase in reported recreational physical activity from the start to the end of the school year (73.6% to 82.4%, P < .05). Students who participated in more TE had a 2.75 times greater odds of reporting participation in recreational activity than students who participated in less TE.
For students in HSHF, TE was significantly associated with an increase in recreational physical activity.