The effect of a classroom activity break on physical activity levels and adiposity in primary school children

Type Article

Journal Article


C. Drummy; E. M. Murtagh; D. P. McKee; G. Breslin; G. W. Davison; M. H. Murphy

Year of publication



Journal of paediatrics and child health








AIM: Despite recognition that regular physical activity is essential for good health, many children do not accumulate sufficient daily physical activity. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a classroom‐based activity break on accelerometer‐determined moderate‐to‐vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) and adiposity in primary school children. METHODS: One hundred twenty children from seven primary schools in Northern Ireland participated in the study. In each school, one class of children was randomly assigned to an intervention group and another class to a control group. Teachers of the intervention classes led a 5‐min activity break three times per day for 12 weeks. Accelerometer‐determined MVPA, height, weight and four skinfolds were measured at baseline and post‐intervention. RESULTS: Compared with the control group, the intervention group significantly increased weekday MVPA (+9.5 min) from baseline to post‐intervention. There were no significant changes in BMI; however, an increase in sum‐of‐skinfolds of the intervention group was observed. CONCLUSIONS: Classroom‐based activity breaks led by the teacher are successful in increasing children's physical activity levels. The programme shows a positive step in improving overall physical activity levels and contributing to the goal of 60 min daily MVPA.