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Role of the Playground Environment and Weight Status on Levels of Physical Activity in Low Socioeconomic Elementary School Students: 636Board #4 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Schaefer, Christine A.; Nace, Heidi J.; Lampe, Sarah M.; Nigg, Claudio R.; Hill, James O. FACSM; Brink, Lois A.; Browning, Raymond C.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2011 - Volume 43 - Issue 5 - p 32-33
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000402768.44946.f9
C-16 Thematic Poster - School Based Interventions: JUNE 2, 2011 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM: ROOM: 404

1Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.2University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO.3University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI. (Sponsor: Raoul Reiser, FACSM)


(No relationships reported)

Recess periods during the school day offer opportunities for children to be active, yet the influence of the playground environment on levels of physical activity (PA) has not been well established.



PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the role of renovated (Learning Landscapes, LL) vs. non-renovated playgrounds on levels of recess PA in elementary school children. The data collected serve as baseline for the Intervention of PhysicaL Activity in Youth (IPLAY) Study.

METHODS: We measured height, weight and 5-6 days of free-living PA via wrist-mounted Actical accelerometers in 271 elementary school children. These students were enrolled in schools serving low socioeconomic status families (77% free and reduced lunch) in metropolitan Denver, CO. Overweight status was defined as > 85th percentile BMI-for-age. We summed total accelerometry counts during recess and divided by the total number of recess minutes to quantify the average activity counts per minute of recess. Univariate ANOVA was conducted to determine between-subject effects of weight status, presence of LL and sex on average recess PA.

RESULTS: A significant interaction was observed between LL and sex (p=.003), demonstrating that boys with LL are markedly more active than girls with LL compared to their non-LL counterparts. An additional interaction was observed between LL and weight status (p=.019), indicating that normal weight children with LL had even greater levels of PA than overweight children with LL.

CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate that in LL schools, normal weight girls and all boys have greater levels of recess PA. However, overweight girls are not affected by LL, signifying the need for additional approaches to encourage them to be more active.

© 2011 American College of Sports Medicine