Promoting physical activity during school break times: piloting a simple, low cost intervention

Prev Med. 2009 Apr;48(4):332-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.02.005. Epub 2009 Feb 12.


Objective: The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effectiveness of two interventions on children's physical activity during the 20-min school break.

Methods: Children from three schools participated in this study. In the first intervention school (n=89) the school's courts were allocated to different children on alternate days of the week, playground markings were painted in the school's yard and jump ropes were provided. In the second intervention school (n=89) the school's courts were just allocated to different children on alternate days of the week. The third school served as the control group (n=69). Physical activity was measured with a pedometer during the 20-min break (09:05-09:25) and during the after school period (13:05 till bed time). Data were collected in Cyprus, between January/April of 2007.

Results: A significant time by group interaction indicated a change in break-time activity. Four weeks after the intervention, mean steps in the first (1427+/-499) and second (1331+/-651) intervention schools were significantly higher than steps in the control school (1053+/-447). Non-significant increases were observed in the after-school activity of children in the intervention schools.

Conclusions: Implementing simple, low-cost interventions during break periods could help increase children's activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Cyprus
  • Exercise*
  • Health Promotion / economics*
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Schools
  • Time Factors