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Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e318226ca47
Original Articles

Does the Effect of a School Recess Intervention on Physical Activity Vary by Gender or Race? Results From the Ready for Recess Pilot Study

Siahpush, Mohammad PhD; Huberty, Jennifer L. PhD; Beighle, Aaron PhD

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Background and Objectives: The recess environment in schools has been identified as an integral part of school-based programs to enhance physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to report pilot findings on the extent to which the Ready for Recess intervention was associated with a different amount of increase in moderate to vigorous PA (MPVA) during recess and the rest of the school day between girls and boys, and between nonwhites and whites.

Methods: The Ready for Recess intervention modified the recess environment of schools by providing staff training and recreational equipment. The MPVA levels of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students (n = 93) at 2 schools were measured pre- and post-intervention using ActiGraph accelerometers. Multiple regression models with robust variance were utilized to test for the interaction of intervention with gender and race/ethnicity.

Results: The intervention was associated with an adjusted increase of 4.7 minutes (P <.001) in moderate/vigorous PA during recess. There was no evidence that this effect varied by gender (P = .944) or race (P = .731). The intervention was also associated with an adjusted increase of 29.6 minutes (P < .001) in moderate/vigorous PA during rest of the school day. While this effect did not vary by gender, there was some evidence (P = .034) that nonwhites benefited more from the intervention than whites.

Conclusion: Simple strategies such as staff training and recreational equipment may be an effective way to increase PA in children (despite gender or ethnicity) during recess time as well as during the rest of the school day.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.



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