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Study Suggests Best Ways For Schools To Promote Physical Activity

Posted Feb 04 2013 9:53pm

kidsunningtogether From Your Health Journal…..”Education Week is one of my favorite web site, full of informative articles that really educate readers. Recently, I found an article on their site written by Bryan Toporek called Study Suggests Best Ways For Schools To Promote Physical Activity. Three things we do not see children participate in like they did 20 years ago are mandatory physical education, classroom activity breaks, and active commuting to school – as a recent study by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine supports. Physical education is being cut in many states, as children are getting minimum amounts of physical activity each school day. Curriculum’s are pushing excess work, and children get very little down time. And….the number of children who walk to school has been cut down significantly. In many homes, parents are working late hours, and get home around dinner, so children even get less physical activity time after school hours. So, changes are needed to help children become more active and eat more nutritiously. Please visit the Education Week web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Mandatory physical education, classroom activity breaks, and active commuting to school are the most effective ways schools can promote physical activity in students, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine earlier this month.

The study authors determined which policy changes in schools could have the greatest effect on students’ physical activity levels by examining 65 original investigations published between 1995 and 2011. Each of the 65 articles in the review objectively measured students’ physical activity through the use of accelerometers, heart rate monitors, pedometers, and direct observation. Studies that relied solely on students self-reporting their physical activity were not included due to unreliability.

The authors then estimated how much energy students expended by using the “primary physical activity outcome variable” in each of the articles in the review, such as pedometer steps, percentage of classroom time spent in physical activity, or minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

They found that schools implementing mandatory physical education classes could help students engage in up to 23 minutes of MVPA each school day, the highest of any activity reviewed in the study. Classroom activity breaks could add up to 19 minutes of MVPA per day and active commuting (walking or biking) to school could result in 16 minutes of MVPA, the authors found.

Combining required daily physical education classes, classroom activity breaks and active commuting to school could result in up to 58 minutes of MVPA per day for students, the study found. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children engage in at least 60 minutes of MVPA on a daily basis.

“This study shows that policymakers have a lot of tools at their disposal to help kids be active,” said lead study author David R. Bassett, a professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in a statement. “But it also shows that no change alone will be enough. Helping young people reach activity goals will require a combination of strategies.”

To read the full article….. Click here

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