Effects of an intervention program on children's physical activity levels
Johnson, Tekla A.
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In Canada, approximately 28% of 12 to 14 year old children and 66% of 15 to 19 year olds are deemed to be physically inactive (Statistics Canada, 1998). Increasing the opportunities children have to be active may be an effective strategy in increasing the activity levels of children. School-based intervention strategies are an excellent way to target the physical activity as they can reach almost all children and have been shown to be effective in increasing their physical activity levels. The school-based intervention used in this study (In Motion) was a physical activity intervention that offered 30 minutes of physical activity to every student on every school day. PURPOSE: To evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention strategy at increasing the activity levels of grade 4 and 5 children. METHODS: Participants were recruited from two Saskatoon elementary schools, which involved five classes of participants from the In Motion School (n = 81), and two from the non-In Motion School (n = 52). The classes were compared using anthropometric measures to identify if the groups were similar and to assess if maturity status affected physical activity levels. To determine the physical activity levels of the children, pedometers were worn for seven consecutive days and a seven-day recall questionnaire (PAQ-C) was completed. Data was analyzed between the schools using a One-way ANOV A and Post Hoc Least Square Differences. RESULTS: At the end of the evaluation, teacher logs revealed that three In Motion classes did not meet the 30-minute criteria. These classes were identified as noncompliant In Motion Classes. Amongst the In Motion, non-compliant In Motion, and non-In Motion classes there were no maturational differences noted and the PAQ-C showed no significant differences in physical activity levels between the groups. Results from the pedometers showed between the three classes, there were no differences in the physical activity levels of children during school hours and outside of school hours. However, it was found that the In Motion classes did take significantly (n < .05) more steps over the weekend (855 ± 300), than the non-compliant In Motion classes (651 ± 314) and the non-In Motion classes (694 ± 378). There was no relationship found between the results of the pedometers and the PAQ-C (r = 0.22). CONCLUSION: In Motion is an example of an intervention strategy that helped children to obtain 30 minutes of physical activity per day. When this program was adhered to in its entirety, children also exhibited increased physical activity levels on the weekend.