Friday Afternoon Poster Presentations: Posters displayed from 1:00–6:00 p.m.: One-hour author presentation times are staggered from 2:00–3:00 p.m., 3:00–4:00 p.m., and 4:00–5:00 p.m.: F-25 Free Communication/Poster - Children Physical Activity and Health: FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 2006 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM: ROOM: Hall B
Childhood physical inactivity is a serious problem. In 2001, 60% of Canadian children aged 9–12 years were not active enough for normal growth and development. Canadian health care costs associated with treating inactivity-related diseases is estimated at $5.3 billion annually. Despite this, a significant number of schools in British Columbia dedicate less than 10% of school time to physical education. School administrators and parents might assume that dedicating instructional time to physical activity (PA) has a negative impact on a child's academic performance (AP). Whether PA detracts, or enhances AP in practice remains unclear. Some studies have found a positive relationship between PA and AP whereas others reported no influence of PA on AP.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was: 1) to evaluate the effective of a school-based PA intervention, Action Schools! BC (AS!BC) on AP in a multi-ethnic group of elementary school children and 2) to determine whether boys and girls' AP changed similarly following participation in AS! BC.
METHODS: This was a 16-month cluster randomized controlled trial. Ten schools were randomized to Intervention (INT) or Usual Practice (UP). AS !BC is a socioecological model whereby children undertake PA across 6 action zones. The overall goal was to provide 150 min/wk of moderate to vigorous PA. UP schools continued with their regular program of PA. Children (143 boys 144 girls) in grades 4 and 5 were recruited to participate. We used the Canadian Achievement Test to evaluate AP and weekly teacher activity logs to determine minutes of PA delivered by teachers to students. Children's PA was determined with the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Children. We used a linear mixed model to evaluate differences in total standardized academic performance score between groups at follow-up and an independent t-test to compare total standardized change score between boys and girls.
RESULTS: PA delivered by teachers to children in INT schools increased by approximately 50 minutes per week (139 ± 62 vs. 92 ± 45, p < 0.001). Participants attending UP schools had significantly higher baseline TotScores than those attending INT schools. Despite this, there was no significant difference in TotScore between groups at follow-up. There was no sex difference in TotScore at baseline or for TotChg.
CONCLUSION: The AS!BC model is an attractive and feasible intervention that provides increased PA opportunities for students within school. Classroom time devoted to physical activity did not detract from students' academic achievements.
British Columbia Ministry of Health Services.