Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Promoting physical activity at the school playground: A quasi-experimental intervention study

Iván López-Fernández, María Molina-Jodar, Francisco J. Garrido-González, Carlos A. Pascual-Martos, José L. Chinchilla, Elvis A. Carnero



In looking for new strategies to promote physical activity (PA), the purpose of this study was to determine whether providing equipment, playground markings, and a physical education (PE)-based intervention effectively increases PA levels during school recess. A total of 223 children (mean age = 7.10 years ± 0.6; 45.3% female) from three schools participated in this study in 2012. In the first intervention school (G1; n = 75) six previous PE classes teaching games for recess were performed and playground markings and game equipment were provided. In the second intervention school (G2; n = 68) only playground markings and game equipment were provided. The third school served as the control group (GC; n = 80). PA was assessed with pedometers. The increase in mean steps after intervention in G2 was higher than the G1 and GC (< 0.001). No differences between G1 and GC were observed at post-intervention (= 0.05). The effects did not vary by gender or BMI. Providing game equipment and playground marks may increase children PA in recess. Nevertheless, additional PE-based intervention did not imply an improvement, and was not effective in increasing PA.


Physical education; Recess; Playtime; Child


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