Physical activity levels of chilean children in a national school intervention programme. A quasi-experimental study

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Background. Recess is a great opportunity to interrupt sedentary behaviour and increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in schoolchildren. This quasi-experimental study aimed to compare the levels of physical activity (PA) during the school day of children in a school intervention programme vs. those in a control group, and to determine compliance with MVPA recommendations. Methods. A sample of 154 schoolchildren (6–12 years old) was obtained from several schools (70 with the intervention and 84 controls). This programme was structured with a duration of 90 min/session and performed three times/week. PA levels were recorded with triaxial accelerometers during the school day: during recess, during a PA session or physical education session (PE), and during lunchtime. No pre-intervention evaluation was performed. Results. The MVPA of the control group was higher than that of the intervention group during the first recess (p < 0.001). None of the groups complied with the recommendations for steps during the PA or PE sessions. During the PA session, sedentary time was lower and MVPA was higher, in the intervention group than in the control group. Fifty percent of the children from the intervention group complied with the MVPA recommendations, vs. 22.7% of those in the control group. Conclusions. The schoolchildren in the intervention group performed more MVPA than those in the control group. Future interventions could include other periods, such as recess and lunchtime, which are opportunities for improving the MVPA levels of schoolchildren.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4529
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2020


  • Child
  • Physical activity
  • Physical education
  • Recess
  • Schools


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