Exercise intervention programs can help improve children's physical activity levels according to a study undertaken by researchers at the Vanderbilt School of Nursing.
The study found that short term and moderately intense interventions stimulated third grade students from public schools in Nashville to get involved in activities such as soccer and swimming, instead of watching television.
After the intervention, consisting of moderate and intense aerobic exercises and non-competitive games designed to get all children involved, African American children, especially girls, increased their activity the most. The intervention was made up of 24 twenty-minute sessions held over the span of eight weeks.
"This modest school intervention lasting eight weeks changed and improved the intensity levels of current exercise programs in these schools. It also benefited the children by stimulating them to do more vigorous physical activity instead of the sedentary activities that can be done at home," explained Tom H, Cook, assistant professor at Vanderbilt and author of the study.
Before the intervention, around 24% of the children claimed to have sedentary behaviors such as reading, playing videogames and watching too much television. After the intervention, the number decreased to 16%. They also found that more than 13% of the students who claimed to have a moderate level of physical activity before the intervention, became involved in more vigorous activities after the intervention was carried out.
The findings were presented on Wednesday in a scientific meeting of the American Heart Association in New Orleans.
SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 10, 2004
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