Offering children sports equipment, a safe environment, and plenty of encouragement is a great way to make sure that they have a higher activity level during school and at break time according to the results of a new study. The researchers involved in the study discovered that just offering balls and bats to primary students during recess is enough to boost the amount of physical activity they take part in by about forty percent.
Dr. Vandana Madhaven stated that everyone knows that children need to be physically active but the increasing rate of obesity in the UK makes it even more important to ensure that kids stay active on a daily basis. The authors of the study looked at how daily activity level can be increased by children that are enrolled in school. The report was written by up and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
It looked at an initiative that was started in a school in Australia that broke eight year old children into four groups of children so that their movement could be studied. Each child wore a device that recorded how much they moved throughout the day. One group was asked to stand up and take periodic breaks throughout the day while another group was offered sports equipment during their recess break. One more group received a mix of the two and a final group was the control group.
Over 18 months the groups that were asked to stand and given equipment at recess increased their activity by about 40% compared to those that were simply allowed to continue on as normal. Those that were given a mixture of both offered a 19% increase in their physical activities. The study only followed the children for two and a half years so it is hard to know what long term impact the encouragement could have.