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- What is already known about this subject
- What this study adds
- Conflict of Interest Statement
Schools provide a prime environment for interventions that attempt to increase physical activity and prevent obesity.
This study examined the effect of a 30-min, structured recess using 22 games of known energy expenditure on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity when compared to free play implemented with third graders from two elementary schools over 9 weeks.
Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and other cardiovascular risk factors were assessed pre- and post-intervention in 27 children.
Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during recess increased significantly in intervention school children from 6.9 ± 0.8 to 14.9 ± 0.9 min pre- and post-intervention, respectively (adjusted mean change 8.0 ± 1.1; P < 0.0001), with no differences by gender or body mass index (BMI). In-school, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity also increased significantly more for intervention compared to control children (adjusted mean change 14 ± 4 min vs. 3 ± 3 min; P = 0.014, respectively).
There was no significant difference in BMI and cardiovascular risk factors. A structured recess is feasible to implement and can significantly increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.