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A Meta-analysis of Children's Activity During Physical Education Lessons

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Objective: In this meta-analysis, we sought to compare accelerometry-measured physical activity and sedentary time (ST) among elementary school students during physical education (PE) lessons taught by generalist and specialist teachers. Methods: We searched 7 databases for peer-reviewed, English-language, original research that met the inclusion criteria. The percentage of PE lesson spent in moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) and ST was synthesized across the 2 types of teachers. Studies that provided percentage of PE class spent in MVPA/ST, a standard deviation, and sample size were pooled for meta-analysis. Results: Overall, 42 studies were included in this review. On average, children engaged in MVPA for 33.0% of their PE classes, and were sedentary for 35.9% of their PE classes. Subgroup analyses found that children spent an average of 33.8% of their PE class time in MVPA when taught by a specialist, and 29.9% of their PE class time in MVPA when a generalist was responsible for instruction. Similarly, children spent 34.2% of PE class time in ST under the instruction of a specialist, and 40.9% of PE class time when taught by a generalist teacher. Conclusion: Regardless of teacher specialization, physical activity levels during PE class at the elementary school level are low.
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Keywords: ACCELEROMETRY; ELEMENTARY SCHOOL; PHYSICAL ACTIVITY; PHYSICAL EDUCATION; SCHOOL HEALTH; SEDENTARY TIME; TEACHER

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2020

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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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