Long-term effects of a playground markings and physical structures on children's recess physical activity levels

Prev Med. 2007 May;44(5):393-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2007.01.009. Epub 2007 Feb 1.


Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of a playground redesign intervention across time on children's recess physical activity levels using combined physical activity measures and to evaluate the potential influence of covariates on the intervention effect.

Method: Fifteen schools located in areas of high deprivation in one large city in England each received 20,000 pounds through a national 10 million pounds Sporting Playgrounds Initiative to redesign the playground environment based on a multicolored zonal design. Eleven schools served as matched socioeconomic controls. Physical activity levels during recess were quantified using heart rate telemetry and accelerometry at baseline, 6 weeks and 6 months following the playground redesign intervention. Data were collected between July 2003 and January 2005 and analyzed using multilevel modeling.

Results: Statistically significant intervention effects were found across time for moderate-to-vigorous and vigorous physical activity assessed using both heart rate and accelerometry.

Conclusions: The results suggest that a playground redesign, which utilizes multicolor playground markings and physical structures, is a suitable stimulus for increasing children's school recess physical activity levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • England
  • Exercise*
  • Facility Design and Construction*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Schools*