Randomized Controlled Trial to Increase Physical Activity Among Hispanic-American Middle School Students

Katherine R. Arlinghaus, Tracey A. Ledoux, Craig A. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) declines during adolescence, particularly among girls. In this randomized control trial, we examined MVPA in a physical activity intervention compared to physical education (PE) class as usual (TAU), stratified by sex and weight classification. Standardized BMI (zBMI) overtime was also examined. METHODS: Hispanic-American middle school students (N = 193) were recruited from a school district in Houston, Texas. Participants were randomized to either a circuit-based physical activity intervention or TAU (PE class as usual). MVPA was assessed using accelerometry at baseline and 6 months. Repeated measures ANCOVA were conducted to examine changes in MVPA, overall and stratified by sex and weight classification. This procedure was repeated for zBMI. RESULTS: Participants were 12.10 ± 0.63 years old and 53% were girls. Overall those in intervention increased weekday MVPA more than TAU (F(1,190) = 7.03, p <.01). Intervention girls increased weekday MVPA; whereas TAU girls decreased weekday MVPA (F(1,99) = 7.36, p <.01). Among those with obesity, there was no difference in MVPA between conditions (F(1, 56) = 0.33, p =.57), but Intervention decreased zBMI significantly more than TAU (F(1, 56) = 6.16, p <.05). CONCLUSIONS: Structured PE classes grounded in behavioral theory may be an important strategy to prevent typical decreases in MVPA during adolescence, particularly among girls and for youth with obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by funds from the US Department of Agriculture, Grant No. ARS 2533759358. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the USDA, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement from the US government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, American School Health Association


  • accelerometry
  • curriculum
  • obesity
  • physical education
  • physical fitness
  • sex differences

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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