How effective are school-based physical activity programmes for promoting physical activity and fitness in children and adolescents aged 6-18 years?
Limitations of these studies included lack of blinding of outcome assessors, and the use of self-report for outcome measures as opposed to more objective measures. Due to the level of variation among studies, meta-analysis was deemed inappropriate. The long term effects of school-based interventions are unknown at this time, given all but 1 study evaluated outcomes in the very short term (eg, 6 months or immediately post intervention).
The World Health Organization estimates 1.9 million deaths worldwide are attributable to physical inactivity. Chronic diseases associated with physical inactivity include cancer, diabetes and coronary heart disease. Current evidence suggests school-based physical activity interventions may be effective in the development of healthy lifestyle behaviours among children and adolescents that will then translate into reduced risk for many chronic diseases and cancers in adulthood.