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Prev Med. 2004 Jul;39(1):157-63.

Non-curricular approaches for increasing physical activity in youth: a review.

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Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



To prevent obesity, the physical activity of youth should be increased. Since time for school physical education has declined and curricular interventions have had limited effects, alternative non-curriculum approaches need to be tested.


A systematic review was conducted to identify research that evaluated the effectiveness of non-curricular interventions on the physical activity of children and adolescents.


Results showed that children were active during school break periods and inexpensive interventions further increased activity during these times. Active travel to school offered potential, but its effectiveness was impaired by traffic congestion and parental fears for child safety. Extracurricular, school-based interventions had problems with low attendance, which might be removed if delivered through existing community organizations. Summer day camps offered potential for increasing activity of youth, but research is required to determine how best to convert camp activity into increased post-camp habitual activity.


Physical activity can be increased during school break periods, through existing youth organizations, summer day camps, and possibly through active transportation. Future research should focus on further enhancing the effectiveness of these innovative interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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