Purpose: Physical activity declines dramatically during adolescence and activity levels are consistently lower among children living in low-income communities. Competency in a range of fundamental movement skills (FMS) may serve as a protective factor against the decline in physical activity typically observed during adolescence. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a 12-month multi-component physical activity and FMS intervention for children attending primary schools in low-income communities.
Methods: The Supporting Children's Outcomes using Rewards, Exercise and Skills (SCORES) intervention was evaluated using a cluster randomized controlled trial. The sample included 25 classes from 8 primary schools located in low-income communities. Participants were 460 children (54.1% girls) aged 8.5 +/- 0.6 years. Primary outcomes were objectively measured physical activity (ActiGraph GT3X and GT3X+ accelerometers), FMS competency (TGMD-2; 6 locomotor and 6 object-control skills), and cardiorespiratory fitness (20 meter multistage fitness test) assessed at baseline, mid-program (6-months) and posttest (12-months). Linear mixed models, adjusted for sex, age, BMI-z score, socio-economic status, ethnicity and school class as a random factor, were used to assess the impact of the intervention.
Results: At mid-program, there were no significant intervention effects for any of the outcomes. At posttest, (study's primary time point), there were intervention effects for daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (adjusted mean difference, 12.7 MVPA mins/day; 95% CI, 5.0 to 20.5), overall FMS competency (4.9 units; 95% CI, -0.04 to 9.8), and cardiorespiratory fitness (5.4 laps; 95% CI, 2.3 to 8.6).
Conclusions: A school-based multi-component physical activity and FMS intervention maintained daily MVPA, improved overall FMS competency and increased cardiorespiratory fitness among children attending primary schools in low-income communities.
Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry No: ACTRN12611001080910
(C) 2014 American College of Sports Medicine