Role of school outdoor play structures on the physical activity level of children during recess: A pilot study

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University of New Brunswick


The contribution of outdoor play structures to moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) is unclear. The main objective was to explore the differences in MVPA in children aged 8 to 10 years old having access or not to outdoor play structures during school recess time. A total of 82 children wore a wrist-worn heart rate monitor for seven consecutive days to determine time spent at MVPA using a Fitbit for a minimum of three full school days at various times of day and weekly. No difference in MVPA was observed when accessing or not the outdoor play structures within-group (n=37) median (25th - 75th) [(16 minutes (7-30) vs. 14 minutes (5-22) p=0.32)] nor between groups (n=22) [16 minutes (7-26) p=0.92)]. The strongest variable associated with MVPA during recess was weekly MVPA (p<0.01). Schools might want to have various options for children to play during recess, allowing children to cumulate MVPA.