Background. Physical inactivity is a risk behavior for cardiovascular and other diseases. Schools can promote public health objectives by increasing physical activity among youth. Methods. The Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health (CATCH) was a multicenter, randomized trial to test the effectiveness of a cardiovascular health promotion program in 96 public schools in four states. A major component of CATCH was an innovative, health-related physical education (PE) program. For 2.5 years, randomly assigned schools received a standardized PE intervention, including curriculum, staff development, and follow-up. Results. Systematic analysis of 2,096 PE lessons indicated students engaged in more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in intervention than in control schools (P = 0.002). MVPA during lessons in intervention schools increased from 37.4% at baseline to 51.9%, thereby meeting the established Year 2000 objective of 50%. Intervention children reported 12 more min of daily vigorous physical activity (P = 0.003) and ran 18.6 yards more than control children on a 9- min run test of fitness (P = 0.21). Conclusions: The implementation of a standardized curriculum and staff development program increased children's MVPA in existing school PE classes in four geographic and ethnically diverse communities. CATCH PE provides a tested model for improving physical education in American schools.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Research supported by funds from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the U.S. Public Health Service: U01HL39880, U01HL39906, U01HL39852, U01HL39927, U0139870. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Thomas L. McKenzie, Ph.D., San Diego State University, Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, 6363 Alvarado Court, Suite 250, San Diego, CA 92120. Fax: (619) 594-8707.
- CVD risk
- children and adolescents
- physical activity
- school physical education