Purpose: Physical activity (PA) 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 PA typically observed during adolescence. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a 12-month multicomponent PA and FMS intervention on children attending primary schools in low-income communities.
Methods: The Supporting Children’s Outcomes using Rewards, Exercise, and Skills intervention was evaluated using a cluster randomized controlled trial. The sample included 25 classes from eight primary schools located in low-income communities. Participants were 460 children (54.1% girls) age 8.5 ± 0.6 yr. Primary outcomes were objectively measured PA (ActiGraph GT3X and GT3X+ accelerometers), FMS competency (Test of Gross Motor Development 2, six locomotor and six object control skills), and cardiorespiratory fitness (20-m multistage fitness test) assessed at baseline, midprogram (6-months), and at posttest (12 months). Linear mixed models, adjusted for sex, age, body mass index z-score, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and school class as a random factor, were used to assess the effect of the intervention.
Results: At midprogram, 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 PA (MVPA) (adjusted mean difference, 12.7 min·d−1 of MVPA; 95% confidence interval (CI), 5.0–20.5), overall FMS competency (4.9 units; 95% CI, −0.04 to 9.8), and cardiorespiratory fitness (5.4 laps; 95% CI, 2.3–8.6).
Conclusions: A school-based multicomponent PA and FMS intervention maintained daily MVPA, improved overall FMS competency, and increased cardiorespiratory fitness among children attending primary schools in low-income communities.