Program

Nov 09, 2011

OVERVIEW

Switch-Play uses behavioral modification and/or fundamental movement skills
training to decrease obesity, increase physical activity, and decrease
TV/computer time among late-elementary school children. Behavioral modification
training increased physical activity, but had a negative impact on TV viewing.
Fundamental movement skills training increased physical activity and increased
boys’ (but not girls’) enjoyment of physical activities. Finally, a combination
of both behavioral modification and fundamental movement skills training reduced
children’s likelihood of being overweight or obese and reduced BMI. All these
impacts were reported at post-test and sustained through the 6- and 12-month
follow-ups.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target
population:

Late
elementary school-aged children

The goals
of switch play are to prevent excess weight gain, reduce time spent in front of
the TV or computer, promote more physical activity, and improve fundamental
movement skills. This experimental evaluation included three treatment
conditions: Behavioral Modification, focuses on teaching children to reduce
TV/computer time and increase physical activity via contracts and advocacy;
Fundamental Movement Skills, focuses on teaching children to run, throw, dodge,
strike, jump, and kick; and a third condition that combines Behavioral
Modification and Fundamental Movement Skills. Behavioral Modification and
Fundamental Movement Skills each last 19 weeks (the combined Behavioral
Modification/Fundamental Movement Skills lasts 38 weeks), with one 40-50 minute
class per week. It takes place in schools and is administered by university
researchers.

EVALUATION
OF PROGRAM

Salmon,
J., Ball, K., Hume, C., Booth, M., Crawford, D. (2008) Outcomes of a
group-randomized trial to prevent excess weight gain, reduce screen behaviours
and promote physical activity in 10-year-old children: Switch-Play. International Journal of Obesity,32, 601-612.

Evaluated
population: 
A total of 311 children (49% boys), average age 10 years 8 months, were
recruited from three public schools in low socioeconomic areas of Melbourne,
Australia. A 78 percent response rate was achieved. Children were in groups as
follows: 66 children to the Behavioral Modification group, 74 children to the
Fundamental Movement Skills group, 93 children to the combined Behavioral
Modification/ Fundamental Movement Skills group, and 62 children to the control
group.

Approach: Seventeen
classrooms were randomized to treatment and control conditions by drawing a
ticket from a container. The control group received the usual curriculum.
Measured outcomes include BMI (weight and height), physical activity (using
accelerometers), self-reported TV and computer behaviors, self-reported
enjoyment of physical activity, and fundamental movement skills (throw, strike,
and kick; rated by staff). Also assessed were whether children developed
negative body self-images as a result of the intervention, and food intake as a
control variable. Assessments were administered at baseline, post intervention,
and at 6- and 12-month follow-ups. At baseline, girls in different groups had
different BMI’s, but these differences were accounted for in the analysis. The
researchers adjusted for clustering within classes.

Results: The
following results were observed at post-test and/or at the 6- and 12-month
follow-ups.

Behavioral
Modification.
Compared to the control group, the Behavioral Modification group watched more
television per week (negative impact), had more movement counts per day, and
spent more time engaged in vigorous physical activity. All these impacts were
found at post-test and maintained through the 12-month follow-up.

Significant moderation by gender was found. Compared to boys in the control
group, boys in this group had more movement counts per day and spent more time
in vigorous-intensity physical activity per day. Compared to girls in the
control group, girls in this group had more movement counts and more
moderate-intensity physical activity. Compared to girls in the control group,
girls in this group exhibited higher fundamental movement skills. All these
impacts were maintained through the 12-month follow-up.

Fundamental Movement Skills.Compared to the control group, the Fundamental Movement Skills group had more
movement counts per day, spent more time in both moderate- and
vigorous-intensity physical activity, and reported greater enjoyment of physical
activities. All these impacts were found at post-test and maintained through the
12-month follow-up.

Significant moderation by gender was found. Compared to boys in the control
group, boys in this group had more movement counts per day and more
vigorous-intensity physical activity per day. Compared to boys in the control
group, boys in this group reported greater physical activity enjoyment. Compared
to girls in the control group, girls in this group exhibited higher fundamental
movement skills. Compared to boys in the control group, boys in this group
reported higher satisfaction with their body shape; this impact was unexpected.
All these impacts were maintained through the 12-month follow-up.

Behavioral
Modification/Fundamental Movement Skills.
Compared to the control group, the Behavioral Modification/Fundamental Movement
Skills group was less likely to be overweight or obese and had lower BMI, and
these differences were found at post-test and maintained through the 12-month
follow-up.

Significant moderation by gender was found. Compared to boys in the control
group, boys in this group had more vigorous-intensity physical activity per day,
but this impact was not sustained through the 6- and 12-month follow-ups.

Limitations.
The
finding that boys in the Fundamental Movement Skills group reported greater
enjoyment of physical activity at post-test and follow-up appears attributable
to pre-existing baseline differences, in which boys in the Fundamental Movement
Skills group already reported greater enjoyment of physical activity. Similarly,
at baseline, girls in the Behavioral Modification group already reported more
movement counts per day and spent more time in moderate physical activity
compared with girls in the control group. Authors could have done a better job
of controlling for baseline differences between treatment and control groups.

SOURCES
FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Salmon,
J., Ball, K., Hume, C., Booth, M., Crawford, D. (2008) Outcomes of a
group-randomized trial to prevent excess weight gain, reduce screen behaviours
and promote physical activity in 10-year-old children: Switch-Play. International Journal of Obesity,32, 601-612.

Contact
Information

Jo Salmon

Center for
Physical Activity and Nutrition Research

School of
Exercise and Nutrition Sciences

Deakin
University

221
Burwood Highway

Burwood,
Victoria 3125, Australia

jsalmon@deakin.edu.au

KEYWORDS:
Children
(3-11), Males and Females (Co-ed), School-Based, Elementary, Skills Training,
Obesity, Other Physical Health

Program
information last updated on 11/09/11.