Physical activity (PA) is critical for attaining optimal health, social, environmental and economic benefits. It has been suggested that forming partnerships with schools, families, communities and workplaces is critical to enhancing the health of children. Saskatchewan in motion is a province-wide initiative which has built such alliances in its effort to increase PA for individuals of all ages, including child and youth populations. Schools that adopt the in motion strategy are committed to providing a minimum of 30 minutes of PA every day for every student.
PURPOSE: To examine the impact of the in motion schools initiative on PA levels of students.
METHODS: Five schools within the province of Saskatchewan, Canada participated in the study, which included a total of 228 students in grades 4, 6, and 8. One urban (n=72) and two rural schools (n=50) participated in the in motion initiative while the remaining urban (n=53) and rural (n=53) schools served as the comparison group. The PAQ-C was used to assess self-reported PA and data were collected at the beginning (September) and the end (May) of the school year. In motion schools implemented the 30-minute PA initiative following the first data collection while non-in motion schools did not change their regular PA regimes. Compliance to the in motion initiative was assessed using teacher records and logs.
RESULTS: Overall, PA scores increased among students in in motion schools (p<.05) but remained unchanged among those in non-in motion schools. When stratified by gender, the increase in PA scores in the in motion classrooms was significant for males (p<.05) but not females. There were no differences in PA scores between urban and rural schools in either the in motion or non-in motion classrooms.
CONCLUSION: The results suggest that the in motion initiative was effective at increasing PA levels among students, regardless of whether they were enrolled in a rural or urban in motion school. However, further research is needed to examine why the in motion intervention was more effective in engaging male students in PA and to further identify potential barriers to engaging female youth in PA.: