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Schools Case Studies

Effects of a classroom-based program on physical activity and on-task behaviour

Date Added: Wed, 18 Apr 2007

Related tags: Research

Mahar, M.T., Murphy, S., Rowe, D.A., Golden, J., Shields, A. T., and Raedeke, T.D. (2006) Effects of a classroom-based program on physical activity and on-task behaviour. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 38 (12):2086-2094

There is little evidence on the positive benefits physical activity can have on improving children's concentration, mental cognition and academic performance. The aim of this study therefore was to examine the effects of a classroom based physical activity program on young children's activity levels and on-task behaviour during academic instruction time. The participants were 243 school children from kindergarten through to fourth-grade who were assigned to either the control or intervention group. The intervention involved children participating in Energisers which are classroom based physical activities lasting approximately 10 minutes. Teachers were trained prior to the study to deliver the Energisers every day for 12 weeks. Third and fourth grade classes were selected for direct observation of on-task behaviour and the teachers of the chosen classes were given a instruction sheet on when the observers would attend their class. Observations were made before and after the Energisers had been conducted. Pedometers were worn over a 5 day period to determine whether the intervention group's activity levels differed from those in the control group. It was found that children in the intervention group took significantly more steps (5587 ∓ 1633) than the control group (4805 ∓ 1543). On-task behaviour also significantly improved after the Energisers where carried out. It was concluded that a classroom based physical activity intervention had a positive effect on improving children's on-task behaviour and overall physical activity in-school hours.

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