Program

Feb 09, 2009

OVERVIEW

This is a school-based physical activity intervention
intended to foster healthy food choices and physical activity in middle school
students. A randomized, experimental study found greater impacts on physical
activity for boys. However, on average, the program increased school-related
physical activity but showed no significant differences in leisure-time physical
activity.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Junior High Students

This school-based program seeks to promote better
nutrition and higher levels of physical activity by creating, providing, and
encouraging more opportunities to be physically active during the school day. To
create more opportunities for physical activity during breaks, schools provided
extra physical activities in the afternoons, after schools, and provided extra
sports equipment during breaks. Parents also received information through the
mail and a free CD with an intervention for them to follow. Parents also
attended a meeting about the program.

The intervention lasted one school year, from October
2003 through June 2004. Each school received a package with materials like
ropes, Frisbees, balls, and beach ball sets, and schools created more
opportunities for children to be physically active during breaks, at noon, or
after school. Five of the ten intervention schools involved parents to create a
supportive social environment for healthy behaviors outside school.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Haerens, L., I. De Bourdeaudhuij, et al. (2007). “School-Based Randomized
Controlled Trial of a Physical Activity Intervention Among Adolescents.” Journal of Adolescent Health 40(3): 258-265.

Evaluated Population:
The sample included 2,434 Flemish junior high students who were 11 to 15 years
old.

Approach: The
15 schools were randomly assigned to intervention with parental support or
intervention alone or control condition. One class of seventh graders was
randomly selected to complete more in-depth measurements from each school.
Physical activity was measured using a student-rated questionnaire and using
accelerometers (for a subsample of students). An accelerometer is similar to a
pedometer, but can give more information on how a person is moving than a
pedometer can.

The authors used three indicators of total physical
activity level (minutes per day): school-related physical activity, leisure time
sports, and leisure time active transportation. Cutoffs for inactivity, light
activity, and moderate to vigorous activity were 0, less than 3,200, and greater
than or equal to 3,200 minutes per day, respectively.

Results: School-related physical activity increased significantly more in the
intervention group with parental support (+6.4 min/day) and the intervention
alone group (+4.5min/day), when compared with the control group. Physical
activity during school time had a medium effect size (d) of 0.40 for the
intervention alone and intervention with parental support versus the control.

There was a significant difference between the
intervention group with parental support and the control group for moderate to
vigorous physical activity. This type of activity increased four minutes daily,
on average, in the intervention group with parental support, but decreased
almost seven minutes daily in the control group. The effect size was small,
0.29, for the intervention alone versus control.

The impact of the intervention varied by gender.
Specifically, there were no significant differences for boys, and leisure time
active transportation remained stable in the intervention-alone group for girls,
but significantly decreased in the control group.

Total physical activity, leisure time sports, and
leisure time active transportation all decreased from the pretest to the
posttest, but not significantly so.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Haerens, L., I. De Bourdeaudhuij, et al. (2007). “School-Based Randomized
Controlled Trial of a Physical Activity Intervention Among Adolescents.” Journal of Adolescent Health 40(3): 258-265.

KEYWORDS:
Adolescence (12-17), Children, Co-ed, School-Based, Middle School, Urban, Physical Health, Parent or
Family Component

Program information last updated 2/9/09