Physical activity and primary school interventions – A Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership Scheme
About this research
This research project is being carried out at the University of Exeter within the Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre in partnership with the Somerset Activity and Sport Partnership (SASP).
Our main aim for this project is to establish the acceptability and feasibility of implementing physical activity into primary school classrooms, from both a teacher and pupil perspective. This information will then allow us to design an informed intervention that could be rolled out across primary school classrooms in a subsequent study. This will allow us to assess outcomes such as a child's time on task and behaviour as well as the physiological benefits that interrupting prolonged sitting with physical activity can have on children's health.
- Children's physical activity (PA) levels are of continuing concern as the health implications for both childhood and later on in adulthood may be determined by their experiences of PA whilst growing up (Telema et al., 2009).
- Only 17.5% of children and young people reported meeting the current UK Chief Medical Officers' guidelines and took part in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) every day. This suggests that what is currently being done to support physical activity in children and young people is not enough and change is required.
- Children spend up to 30 hours a week at primary school and approximately 50-70% of their time is spent sitting.
- Previous PA research consistently identifies classroom lessons as the most sedentary and least active segment of a young person's day, therefore introducing activity during this time offers an attractive opportunity for an intervention.
- The World Health Organization has specifically identified schools as a target setting for the promotion of PA among children in order to create an active environment, develop habits and raise awareness.
- The consequences of excessive sedentary behaviour are not well understood in children however there is growing evidence that increased sedentary time in childhood is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk (McManus et al., 2015).
- It is unrealistic to expect support from school administrators of increasing PA in classrooms without demonstrating a clear academic benefit to physical activity in classrooms. Head teachers are also more likely to prioritise health promotion if they believed that student health and education outcomes were linked (Jessiman et al., 2019).
- Studies have shown that implementing just 6 minutes of MVPA in a 35 minute lesson can improve a pupils time on task by 27% (Grieco et al., 2016). Time on task is a direct measure of attention and behavioral control and, thus, student engagement, and is positively associated with academic performance (Stallings., 1980).
- Teachers have a limited amount of time and resources, therefore need more support and tools in order to effectively integrate movement in the classroom (Orlowski et al., 2013). The evidence base for effective interventions remains limited (Dobbins 2013).
If you would like more information about this research or are interested in getting involved in future research done at the University of Exeter Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre then please contact:
Rebecca Chorlton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Bert Bond – B.Bond@exeter.ac.uk
Professor Craig Williams – C.A.Williams@exeter.ac.uk
Taunton/ West Somerset School Games Organiser
- 01823 653996