The physical benefits of structured physical education (PE) classes and free-choice recess time in elementary school and how they compare to each other is unknown. National health objectives encourage 50% of PE class time being spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), while no set standards for elementary recess exist. PURPOSE: To determine if a difference existed in the caloric amounts expended by elementary age children during structured physical education class compared to free-choice recess time. METHODS: Twenty-eight third and fourth grade children (male= 18, female= 10) were recorded, with a hip-placed accelerometer, during one day each of PE class and recess time. Each recording lasted exactly 30 minutes and they were taken a day apart. Data was collected during a three week period in which the PE class participated in tennis and badminton. RESULTS: A paired samples t-test compared differences in steps, total energy expenditure (EE), total EE in males, and average kilocalories expended per minute. Steps: t(26) = 3.79, p=.001; total EE: t(27) = 1.85, p= .075; total EE (males): t(17) = 3.78, p= .006; energy expenditure per minute: t(26) = 1.75, p= .091. The average percentage of time spent in MVPA during PE was 64.37%. CONCLUSION: There was a statistically significant difference in total EE in males and steps, with recess being higher than PE class. Discussion will be centered around the priority of structured physical education in schools and the impacts on obesity and child health.
Shannon Simmons, Corban University, USA
Megan Turner, Corban University, USA
Stream: Primary and secondary education
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