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Table 4 Studies investigating the effect of physically active lessons on academic and physical activity outcomes

From: Effect of classroom-based physical activity interventions on academic and physical activity outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Paper/
country
Study design Sample size Age Intervention Duration Delivery PA measure Academic outcome measure Study quality Results
De Greeff et al., 2016 [32]
Netherlands
RCT Students:
n = 499
Schools:
n = 12
Years 2 & 3
Mean age: 8.1 ± 0.7 years
Fit & Academically proficient at school = 30 min physically active (MVPA) math and language lessons
Dose: 3 x per week
22 weeks per year school, with 1-year and 2-year follow up 1st year - intervention teachers
2nd year –teacher
None Executive function:
Inhibition: Golden Stroop test
Working memory: Digit span backward & Visual span backward
Strong Inhibition: no difference between intervention M = 19.6 (8.1) and control group M = 19.9 (9.5)
Digit span backward:no difference between intervention M = 6.0 (2..2) and control group M = 6.2 (1.9)
Visual span backward: no difference between intervention M = 6.6 (1.7) and control group M = 6.8 (1.6)
Riley et al., 2014 [24]
Australia
Cluster RCT - pilot study Students:
n = 54
Classes:
n = 2
Schools:
n = 1
Age 10 to 12 years
Years 5 & 6
Encouraging Activity to Stimulate Young (EASY) Minds = PA integrated into existing math lessons, 60 mins per lesson
Dose: 3 x per week
6 weeks Research staff Active lesson and school day PA: Accelerometer (GT3X) On-task behaviour: direct observation Strong On-task behaviour: Greater during intervention lessons, compared with control (19.9% mean difference)
Physical activity: 9.7% increase in MVPA across math timeslot, and 8.7% increase across school day
Riley et al., 2015 [23]
Australia
Cluster RCT Students:
n = 240
Schools:
n = 8
Age 10 to 12 years
Years 5 & 6
EASY Minds = PA integrated into existing math program, 60 mins per lesson
Dose: 3 x per week
6 weeks Teacher Active lesson and school day PA:
Accelerometer (Walk4Life, LS, 2500)
On task behavior: direct observation
Mathematics: Progressive Achievement Test
Strong On-task behaviour: 13.8% increase in intervention compared with control group
Mathematics: no difference between groups
Physical activity: 2.6% increase in MVPA during math timeslot, and 1.7% increase across school day
Donnelly et al., 2009 [45]
USA
Cluster RCT (pre-and post-test) Students:
n = 1527
Schools:
n = 24
Years 2 & 3 Physical Activity Across the Curriculum (PAAC) = MVPA integrated into language, math, science and social studies lessons
Dose: 90 min per week, delivered intermittently throughout school day. Approx. 10 mins per session.
3 years Teacher School day, weekend day and weekday PA:
ActiGraph accelerometer
Academic achievement: subsample (n = 454) WIAT-II-A standardised test (math, reading, spelling) Strong Academic achievement: improvement in reading, math and spelling scores from baseline to 3 years in intervention, compared with control schools
Physical activity: greater school day PA (12%), weekend day PA (17%) and weekday PA (8%) in intervention compared, with control group
Beck et al., 2016 [33]
Denmark
Cluster RCT Students:
n = 165
Schools:
n = 3
Classes:
n = 9
Year 1 Group A = gross motor movements integrated into 60 min math lessons, (e.g. skipping, crawling, throwing while solving math problems)
Group B = fine motor movements integrated into 60 min math lessons (e.g. manipulating LEGO bricks while solving math problems)
Dose: 3 x per week
6 weeks Teacher Physical activity intensity during lessons:
Combined heart rate (Polar Team 2 System) and accelerometer (MinimaxX S4) - Subsample (n = 49)
Mathematics: standardized test (name not specified) Moderate Mathematics: changes in mean math performance were greater for the gross motor group, compared with fine motor group from baseline to intervention end (1.87 ± 0.71). However this affect was not evident from baseline to 8 week follow up.
McCrady Spitzer et al., 2015 [47]
USA
Quasi-experimental Students:
n = 14
Schools:
n = 1
Classes:
N = 1
Age 6 to 7 years
Year 1
30–40 min math and language lesson using Active Classroom Equipment
Dose: daily
9 months Teacher School day PA:
Accelerometer
Academic achievement: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)-oral reading fluency, whole words read, correct letter sound Moderate Correct letter sound: children in intervention group showed greater improvement (Mdiff = 45 ± 34) compared with children in the control group (Mdiff = 15 ± 22)
Whole words read: children in intervention group showed greater improvement (Mdiff = 20 ± 14) compared with children in the control group (Mdiff=7 ± 9)
Oral reading fluency: no difference between intervention (Mdiff = 27 ± 27) and control groups (Mdiff = 19 ± 16)
Physical activity: 46% increase on days used active classroom equipment, compared with days in traditional classroom
Mullender-Wijnsma et al., 2015a [49]
Netherlands
Within subject Students:
n = 86
Schools:
n = 4
Mean age: 8.2 years
Years 2 & 3
Fit & Academically proficient at school = 30 min physically active (MVPA) math and language lessons
Dose: 3 x per week
22 weeks Intervention teachers None On-task behaviour: direct observation Moderate On-task behaviour: higher post intervention, compared with post control lessons (ES = 0.41)
Graham et al., 2014 [46]
USA
Non-randomised controlled trial Students:
n = 21
Schools:
n = 1
Classes:
n = 1
Age 7–8 years
Year 2
Jump In! = PA integrated into math lesson
Dose: one-off lesson
1 day Teacher and researcher None Mathematics: post session knowledge questionnaire Weak Mathematics: no difference between intervention (M = 4.08) and control groups (M = 4.25)
Mullender-Wijnsma et al., 2015b [48]
Netherlands
Quasi-experimental with control group Students:
n = 228
Schools: n = 6
Mean age: 8.1 years
Years 2 & 3
Fit & Academically proficient at school = 30 min physically active (MVPA) math and language lessons
Dose: 3 x per week
21 weeks Intervention teachers None Mathematics:
speed test arithmetic
Reading:
1-min test
Weak Mathematics:
- Year 3: intervention group had higher scores, compared with control group (F[1,99] = 11.72, p < 0.05).
- Year 2: intervention group had lower scores compared with control group (F[1109] = 12.40, p < 0.05)
Reading:
- Year 3: intervention group had higher scores, compared with control group (F[1,98] = 6.97, p < 0.05).
- Year 2 no difference between groups (F[1109] = 0.72, p = 0.40)
Norris et al., 2015 [50]
UK
Quasi-experimental Students:
n = 85
Schools:
n = 2
Classes:
n = 4
Age 9 to 10 years
Year 5
London Olympic theme virtual field trip = 30 mins completing prompted activities (e.g. running 100 m sprint on the spot)
Dose: one off lesson
May and June but intervention ran for 1-day in each class Teacher Active lesson PA:
Accelerometer
Lesson content recall:
10 item content recall quiz
Weak Content recall quiz: no difference between groups
Physical activity: increase in intervention group
Reed et al., 2010 [51]
USA
Cluster RCT; pre-and post-test Students:
n = 155
Schools:
n = 1
Classes:
n = 6
Age 9 to 11 years
Year 3
30 mins PA integrated into language and math and social studies lessons.
Dose: 3 x per week
3 months Teacher DIGI- WALKER pedometer SW 200- used in intervention group to record steps during lesson only Fluid intelligence: Standard Progressive Matrices
Academic achievement: Palmetto Achievement Challenge Tests (English, math, science and social studies
Weak Fluid intelligence: higher scores in intervention, compared with control group (M = 36.66, p = 0.45)
Social studies: higher scores in intervention, compared with control group (t = p = 0.004)
Mathematics: no difference between groups (t = 1.107, p = 0.09)
English: no difference between groups (t = 0.71, p = 0.0478)
Science: no difference between groups (t = 1.490, p = 0.140)
Grieco et al., 2016 [65]
USA
Mixed factorial design Students:
n = 320
School districts:
n=1
Classes: n = 20
Age 7 to 12 years Spelling Relay = 10–15 min PA integrated into spelling lessons delivered at different PA intensities (seated traditional lesson, seated game, LMPA game & MVPA game) 1 x lesson per condition Research staff Physical activity intensity during lessons: accelerometer On-task behavior: direct observation Weak On-task behaviour: significant increase in time on task from pre- to post- LMPA game (ES = 0.43) and MVPA game (ES = 1.22)
Mullender-Wijnsma et al., 2016 [66]
Netherlands
RCT Students:
n = 499
Schools:
n = 12
Years 2 & 3
Mean age: 8.1 ± 0.7 years
Fit & Academically proficient at school = 30 min physically active (MVPA) math and language lessons
Dose: 3 x per week
22 weeks per year school, with 1-year and 2-year follow up 1st year - intervention teachers
2nd year –teacher
None Reading: 1 min test
Spelling: spelling scores retrieved from a child academic monitoring system
Mathematics: speed test arithmetic and general math scores retrieved from a child academic monitoring system
Weak Mathematics: intervention group showed greater improvement in math speed test (ES = 0.51) and general math scores (ES = 0.42), compared with control group
Spelling: intervention group showed greater improvement in spelling scores (ES = 0.45), compared with control group.
Reading: no difference between groups (t = 0.00; p = 1.00)
  1. Abbreviations:
  2. MVPA: moderate to vigorous physical activity intensity
  3. MPA: moderate physical activity intensity
  4. PA: physical activity
  5. RCT: randomised controlled trial