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A Repeated Measures Experiment of School Playing Environment to Increase Physical Activity and Enhance Self-Esteem in UK School Children

Wood, Carly and Gladwell, Valerie and Barton, Jo (2014) 'A Repeated Measures Experiment of School Playing Environment to Increase Physical Activity and Enhance Self-Esteem in UK School Children.' PLoS ONE, 9 (9). e108701-e108701. ISSN 1932-6203

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School playtime provides daily opportunities for children to be active outdoors, but only makes small contributions to physical activity (PA) requirements. Natural environments facilitate unstructured PA and children report a preference for play in nature. Thus, play on the school field might encourage children to be more active during playtime. The primary aim of this study was to examine the impact of the school playing environment on children's PA. Descriptive data and fitness were assessed in 25 children aged 8-9 years from a single primary school. Over two consecutive weeks participants were allocated to either play on the school field or playground during playtime. The order of play in the two areas was randomised and counterbalanced. Moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) was assessed during playtime on the last two days of each week using accelerometers. There was a significant interaction of environment and sex on MVPA during morning play (F(1,22) = 6.27; P<0.05; np2 = 0.222), but not during lunch (P≥0.05; np2 = 0.060) or all of playtime combined (P≥0.05; np2 = 0.140). During morning play boys were significantly more active than girls on the playground (t(23) = 1.32; P<0.01; n2 = 0.291), but not on the field (P≥0.05; n2 = 0.071). For lunch (F(1,22) = 24,11; P<0.001; np2 = 0.523) and all of playtime combined (F(1,22) = 33.67; P<0.001; np2 = 0.616) there was a significant effect of environment. There was also a significant main effect of sex during lunch (F(1,22) = 11.56; P<0.01; np2 = 0.344) and all of playtime combined (F(1,22) = 12.37; P<0.01; np2 = 0.371). MVPA was higher on the field and boys were more active than girls. Play on the field leads to increases in MVPA, particularly in girls. The promising trend for the effect of the natural environment on MVPA indicates that interventions aimed at increasing MVPA should use the natural environment and that schools should encourage greater use of their natural areas to increase PA.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Anthropometry; Motor Activity; Self Concept; Time Factors; Schools; Play and Playthings; Physical Fitness; Child; Female; Male; United Kingdom
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2014 09:20
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 10:47

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