The study investigated the effect of a school-based healthy lifestyles intervention on physical activity and dietary variables. In total 378 children (177 intervention, 201 control; age 9.75 ± 0.82 years (mean ± s)) took part in the 7-month intervention comprising: preparation for and participation in 3 highlight events (a dance festival, a walking event and a running event); an interactive website for pupils, teachers and parents; and vacation activity planners. Primary outcome measures were objectively measured physical activity (pedometers and accelerometers), endurance fitness and dietary variables. Multi-level modelling was employed for data analysis. The increase in physical activity was greater in the intervention group than the control group (steps: 1049 vs 632 daily steps each month; moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) total: 4.6 min · day-1 · month-1 vs 1.3 min · day-1 · month-1; MVPA bouts: 5.4 min · day-1 · month-1 vs 2.6 min · day-1 · month-1; all P < 0.05). The increase in multi-stage fitness test distance was greater for intervention participants (46 vs 29 m · month-1 of intervention, group × month interaction, P < 0.05). There were no differences between groups in dietary variables, body composition, knowledge of healthy lifestyles or psychological variables. Thus an intervention centred around highlight events and including relatively few additional resources can impact positively on the objectively measured physical activity of children.
- healthy eating
- physical activity