An investigation into physical activity levels in primary school playgrounds

Mills, Claire D ORCID: 0000-0003-4156-4593 and Burnett, R (2017) An investigation into physical activity levels in primary school playgrounds. Sport and Exercise Medicine Open Journal, 3 (2). pp. 30-39. doi:10.17140/SEMOJ-3-145

Text (Final Published version)
An-Investigation-into-Physical-Activity-Levels-in-Primary-School-Playgrounds-SEMOJ-3-145.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (973kB) | Preview


Background: As children spend roughly 30 hours per week at school, the associated benefits of physical activity (PA) can be developed within Physical Education (PE) lessons, break times and after school activities. Methods: A mixed methods approach was undertaken to explore children’s PA levels and the effect of gender, adult supervision and weather during school lunchtimes using n = 132 participants aged 5-12 years. Moderate-to-vigorous (MPVA) PA levels were measured using systematic scans in 3 playground areas during 3 separate lunchtimes using an adapted version of McKenzie’s1 proforma. Focus groups on n = 16 pupils aged 7-11 years were conducted to help improve understanding of the effects of supervision and weather on PA, and how levels of PA can be increased. Results: Paired sample t-tests results revealed that males were significantly more active in area one than area two (P = 0.04) and females were significantly more active in area three than area one (P < 0.01). Focus groups highlighted that supervisors made little impact upon PA, whilst hotter weather was reported to negatively affect PA levels, as children engaged in less active activities to avoid sweating. Conclusions: Overall males were observed to have higher levels of PA during the study, supervisors were important for health and safety but rarely encouraged PA and finally, participants claimed that they were less active when it was hotter.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Physical activity; Primary schools; Children; Play; Playgrounds; Lunchtime; Gender; Adult supervision; Weather
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV191.2 Outdoor Life. Outdoor recreation.
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Q Science > QP Physiology
Q Science > QP Physiology > QP301.H75 Physiology. Sport
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Claire Mills
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2017 16:22
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:09

University Staff: Request a correction | Repository Editors: Update this record

University Of Gloucestershire

Bookmark and Share

Find Us On Social Media:

Social Media Icons Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Pinterest Linkedin

Other University Web Sites

University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.