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Prev Med. 2015 Dec;81:67-72. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.08.006. Epub 2015 Aug 19.

Implementing classroom physical activity breaks: Associations with student physical activity and classroom behavior.

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Children's Mercy Hospital, Center for Children's Healthy Lifestyles and Nutrition, 610 E. 22nd St., Kansas City, MO 64108, United States.
University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093 United States.



To investigate the relation of classroom physical activity breaks to students' physical activity and classroom behavior.


Six elementary-school districts in California implemented classroom physical activity interventions in 2013-2014. Students' (N=1322) accelerometer-measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during school and teachers' (N=397) reports of implementation and classroom behavior were assessed in 24 schools at two time points (both post-intervention). Mixed-effects models accounted for nested data.


Minutes/day of activity breaks was positively associated with students' MVPA (βs=.07-.14; ps=.012-.016). Students in classrooms with activity breaks were more likely to obtain 30 min/day of MVPA during school (OR=1.75; p=.002). Implementation was negatively associated with students having a lack of effort in class (β=-.17; p=.042), and student MVPA was negatively associated with students being off task or inattentive in the classroom (β=-.17; p=.042). Students provided with 3-4 physical activity opportunities (classroom breaks, recess, PE, dedicated PE teacher) had ≈5 more min/day of school MVPA than students with no opportunities (B=1.53 min/opportunity; p=.002).


Implementing classroom physical activity breaks can improve student physical activity during school and behavior in the classroom. Comprehensive school physical activity programs that include classroom-based activity are likely needed to meet the 30 min/day school physical activity guideline.


Children; Exercise; Low-income; School health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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