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Physical Activity Interventions in Diverse US Schools: A Systematic Review

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Objectives: Many researchers have studied the effectiveness of school-based physical activity (PA) interventions in promoting children's PA; yet, much remains unknown about best practices for promoting PA in diverse populations of school-aged US children. The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the impact of elementary school-based PA interventions on children's PA levels in minority or underserved populations. Methods: Studies were identified through a systematic search of electronic databases, related references, and additional sources. Inclusion criteria included US-based randomized controlled trials with validated instruments and scales. Results: A total of 10 publications met the inclusion criteria. Included studies had varying settings (classroom, playground, etc), study population sizes, and durations. Five of the 10 interventions, including all of the classroom-based interventions, were effective, and the others were equivocal. The effective PA interventions were well-planned and were implemented with fidelity to achieve sustainable results. Conclusion: Overall, classroom-based interventions improve the PA level of elementary-school age children. The lack of uniformity and fidelity in implementation across interventions limits the interpretation of the findings. Although we conducted a comprehensive search, only 10 studies met the inclusion criteria for this review, indicating a critical need for more research in this area.
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Keywords: CHILD HEALTH; HEALTH DISPARITIES; PHYSICAL ACTIVITY; SCHOOL HEALTH

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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