This work was supported by funds provided by the Italian Ministry of University and Scientific Research-Local projects. We thank all the administrators and teachers of the schools, the children and families that were involved in the project, and the Bologna Province Education Office which took an active role in the recruitment of the selected schools. We are especially grateful to the physical activity teachers who held the physical education lessons and monitored the motor activities in the classes.
Effects of a 2-Year School-Based Intervention of Enhanced Physical Education in the Primary School
Version of Record online: 23 JUL 2013
© 2013, American School Health Association
Journal of School Health
Volume 83, Issue 9, pages 639–646, September 2013
How to Cite
Effects of a 2-year school-based intervention of enhanced physical education in the primary school., , , , , .
- Issue online: 23 JUL 2013
- Version of Record online: 23 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 20 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 26 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Received: 9 FEB 2012
- sedentary behavior;
- school-based intervention;
- physical education
This study aimed to assess whether a school-based physical education intervention was effective in improving physical abilities and influencing daily physical activity habits in primary school children. The possible effect on body mass index (BMI) was also considered.
Twenty-six 3rd-grade classes were randomly selected stratifying by geographic location (city, plain, hills) and were assigned either to an intervention (127 boys; 120 girls) or to a traditional (129 boys; 121 girls) physical education program. At baseline (age: 8-9 years) and after a 2-year follow-up (age: 10-11 years), information was collected about sport participation and daily activity habits using a self-administered questionnaire. Height, weight, and BMI were measured and physical performance was assessed by means of standardized tests.
The enhanced program of physical education was effective in improving physical abilities of children and determining a decrease (boys: 10%; girls: 12%) in daily sedentary activities (preintervention versus postintervention, p < .05; intervention versus control group, p < .01). The percentages of overweight and obese children did not vary significantly, but the experimental group showed a significantly lower rise in BMI compared to the control group (p < .001).
The school proved to be an ideal setting for promoting physical activity and achieving the required daily activity levels.