International Journal of Exercise Science 6(2) : 134-143, 2013. Schools have been identified as a central element in a system that ensures that children participate in enough physical activity to develop healthy lifestyles. Even with this recommendation, many school-based physical activity opportunities are being eliminated/minimized (i.e. physical education (PE), recess). With children spending much of their time at school, other supplemental physical activity opportunities are essential. One such opportunity is through classroom teacher led activity breaks. Very little evidence exists identifying the impact of classroom activity breaks on the daily physical activity patterns of children. Therefore, the purpose of this paper was to determine the impact of classroom teacher led activity breaks on the step counts and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) of 4th grade children at school. Participants in this pilot study included a 4th grade class (N=18; aged 9.2±.4 years; mostly Caucasian (n=14); BMI=19.9±2.8) in a rural school district in the Northeast US. Children wore the NL-1000 piezoelectric pedometer for 2-weeks (a baseline week and an activity break week) during the winter of 2012. Activity breaks were created by the teacher/students to give them ownership in the program (activities included numerous classroom games and walking activities). At baseline, children averaged 4806±639 steps and 17.7±2.8 minutes of MVPA/day. During implementation of the physical activity breaks, children significantly increased both their steps (p<.01; 5651±627; D=845) and MVPA (p<.01; 22.3±3.5; D=4.6 minutes). Findings suggest that classroom activity breaks have the potential to increase children’s daily physical activity patterns at school. Future studies are needed with a larger and more diverse population to support these findings.
Bershwinger, Teresa and Brusseau, Timothy A.
"The Impact of Classroom Activity Breaks on the School-Day Physical Activity of Rural Children,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 6
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol6/iss2/6