Background: Research suggests that physical activity breaks (ABs) during class increase students' physical activity levels and provide an academic benefit. This study evaluates a 3-year intervention aimed at encouraging teacher AB use.
Methods: Thirty central Texas middle schools were assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: training-only (Basic), training plus facilitator support (Basic Plus), and training/facilitator support and a social marketing campaign (Basic Plus SM). Teachers completed surveys at end of years 2 (N = 1039) and 3 (N = 831) to assess exposure to program, self-efficacy, and frequency of AB use.
Results: At end of year 3, teachers in facilitator-supported conditions reported increased exposure, self-efficacy, and use compared to Basic condition. Only 43.2% of teachers in the Basic condition reported receiving training in ABs compared to 84.2% and 90.6% in the Basic Plus and Basic Plus SM conditions, respectively. Additionally, a greater percentage of teachers in the facilitator-support conditions reported conducting ABs weekly (Basic = 23.3%, Basic Plus = 34.4%, Basic Plus SM = 38.7%, at year 3; p < .001).
Conclusions: Despite perceived barriers, including fear that ABs will detract from instructional time, the intervention was successful in having a core group of teachers implement them weekly. More research is needed to increase the percentage of teachers implementing ABs regularly.
Keywords: CATCH; activity break; adolescent; obesity; physical activity.
© 2014, American School Health Association.