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The effectiveness of an intervention promoting physical activity in elementary school children

(2006)
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(UGent) and (UGent)
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Abstract
Regular physical activity (PA) is an important component of a healthfully lifestyle in children and adolescents. While children are more active than adults, a substantial proportion of young people have lower activity levels than those desirable for good health. Furthermore, it is well documented that PA levels decline from childhood to adulthood and tracking studies have revealed that low levels of PA remain stable from adolescence into adulthood. Therefore, the promotion of lifelong PA among youth should be emphasized at an early age. The school environment is an ideal setting for the promotion of PA, since all children can be reached. Schools can provide opportunities to engage in PA during physical education (PE) classes, during recess periods and after school hours. Additionally, schools can teach the children behavioral skills necessary to develop and maintain an active lifestyle. The main purpose of this thesis was to evaluate the effectiveness of a comprehensive PA promotion intervention in elementary school children. Furthermore, the effectiveness of some of the intervention components was evaluated. Sixteen elementary schools participated in the intervention study. They were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 8) and control condition (n = 8). The intervention included a health-related PE program, classroom-based health-education lessons and an extracurricular PA promotion program. However, before avaluating the intervention, the validity of a questionnaire measuring children’s usual PA was evaluated in a preliminary study. The results indicated that the questionnaire, completed with parental assistance, is useful to measure children’s usual PA levels. The evaluations of the intervention study revealed that the comprehensive PA promotion intervention was effective in promoting PA in elementary school children. The intervention was successful in preventing the age-related decline in children’s total PA participation. Moreover, the intervention was successful in promoting PA both at school and in leisure time. Children in the intervention condition reported more moderate intensity activity in leisure time than the controls. Moreover, the health-related PE program was found to be promising in promoting PA during PE classes. Furthermore, providing game equipment during recess periods was effective in increasing children’s activity levels during those periods. However, no intervention effects were found on children’s physical fitness and psychosocial correlates of PA. A strong point of the intervention was the integration of several school environmental factors to promote lifelong PA, including PE classes, healtheducation classes, recess periods and extracurricular activities. Furthermore, the intervention was not expensive and most components could be implemented within the existing school programs by the schools themselves. Therefore, implementation of the intervention in elementary schools needs to be encouraged.

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Citation

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Chicago
Verstraete, Stefanie. 2006. “The Effectiveness of an Intervention Promoting Physical Activity in Elementary School Children”. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
APA
Verstraete, Stefanie. (2006). The effectiveness of an intervention promoting physical activity in elementary school children. Ghent University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent, Belgium.
Vancouver
1.
Verstraete S. The effectiveness of an intervention promoting physical activity in elementary school children. [Ghent, Belgium]: Ghent University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences; 2006.
MLA
Verstraete, Stefanie. “The Effectiveness of an Intervention Promoting Physical Activity in Elementary School Children.” 2006 : n. pag. Print.
@phdthesis{468190,
  abstract     = {Regular physical activity (PA) is an important component of a healthfully lifestyle in children and adolescents. While children are more active than adults, a substantial proportion of young people have lower activity levels than those desirable for good health. Furthermore, it is well documented that PA levels decline from childhood to adulthood and tracking studies have revealed that low levels of PA remain stable from adolescence into adulthood. Therefore, the promotion of lifelong PA among youth should be emphasized at an early age. The school environment is an ideal setting for the promotion of PA, since all children can be reached. Schools can provide opportunities to engage in PA during physical education (PE) classes, during recess periods and after school hours. Additionally, schools can teach the children behavioral skills necessary to develop and maintain an active lifestyle. The main purpose of this thesis was to evaluate the effectiveness of a comprehensive PA promotion intervention in elementary school children. Furthermore, the effectiveness of some of the intervention components was evaluated. Sixteen elementary schools participated in the intervention study. They were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 8) and control condition (n = 8). The intervention included a health-related PE program, classroom-based health-education lessons and an extracurricular PA promotion program. However, before avaluating the intervention, the validity of a questionnaire measuring children{\textquoteright}s usual PA was evaluated in a preliminary study. The results indicated that the questionnaire, completed with parental assistance, is useful to measure children{\textquoteright}s usual PA levels. The evaluations of the intervention study revealed that the comprehensive PA promotion intervention was effective in promoting PA in elementary school children. The intervention was successful in preventing the age-related decline in children{\textquoteright}s total PA participation. Moreover, the intervention was successful in promoting PA both at school and in leisure time. Children in the intervention condition reported more moderate intensity activity in leisure time than the controls. Moreover, the health-related PE program was found to be promising in promoting PA during PE classes. Furthermore, providing game equipment during recess periods was effective in increasing children{\textquoteright}s activity levels during those periods. However, no intervention effects were found on children{\textquoteright}s physical fitness and psychosocial correlates of PA. A strong point of the intervention was the integration of several school environmental factors to promote lifelong PA, including PE classes, healtheducation classes, recess periods and extracurricular activities. Furthermore, the intervention was not expensive and most components could be implemented within the existing school programs by the schools themselves. Therefore, implementation of the intervention in elementary schools needs to be encouraged.},
  author       = {Verstraete, Stefanie},
  isbn         = {9789080908444},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {144},
  publisher    = {Ghent University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences},
  school       = {Ghent University},
  title        = {The effectiveness of an intervention promoting physical activity in elementary school children},
  url          = {http://lib.ugent.be/fulltxt/RUG01/000/965/388/RUG01-000965388\_2010\_0001\_AC.pdf},
  year         = {2006},
}