Background: Urban elementary schools in minority communities with high obesity prevalence may have limited resources for physical education (PE) to achieve daily activity recommendations. Little is known whether integrating physical activity (PA) into classrooms can increase activity levels of students attending such schools. Methods: We conducted a cluster randomized, controlled trial among kindergarten and first-grade students from four Bronx, New York, schools to determine feasibility and impact of a classroom-based intervention on students' PA levels. Students in two intervention schools received the Children's Hospital at Montefiore Joining Academics and Movement (CHAM JAM), an audio CD consisting of 10-minute, education-focused aerobic activities led by teachers three times a day. PA was objectively measured by pedometer. Each subject wore a sealed pedometer during the 6-hour school day for 5 consecutive days at baseline (Time 1) and 8 weeks postintervention (Time 2). Hierarchical linear models were fit to evaluate differences in mean number of steps between the two groups. Results: A total of 988 students participated (intervention group, n=500; control group, n=488). There was no significant difference at baseline between the two groups on mean number of steps (2581 [standard deviation (SD), 1284] vs. 2476 [SD, 1180]; P=0.71). Eight weeks post-CHAM JAM, intervention group students took significantly greater mean number of steps than controls (2839 [SD, 1262] vs. 2545 [SD, 1153]; P=0.0048) after adjusting for baseline number of steps and other covariates (grade, gender, recess, and PE class). CHAM JAM was equally effective in gender, grade level, and BMI subgroups. Conclusions: CHAM JAM significantly increased school-based PA among kindergarten and first-grade students in inner-city schools. This approach holds promise as a cost-effective means to integrate the physical and cognitive benefits of PA into high-risk schools.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics