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Background: To investigate the interpersonal and physical environment mediators of the Transform-Us! mid-intervention effects on physical activity (PA) during recess and lunchtime. Methods: Transform-Us! is a clustered randomised school-based intervention with four groups: sedentary behaviour intervention (SB-I), PA intervention (PA-I), combined PA+SB-I and control group. All children in grade 3 from 20 participating primary schools in Melbourne, Australia were eligible to complete annual evaluation assessments. The outcomes were the proportion of time spent in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) and light PA (LPA) during recess and lunchtime assessed by accelerometers. Potential mediators included: perceived social support from teachers; perceived availability of line markings; perceived accessibility of sports equipment; and perceived school play environment. Generalised linear models were used and mediation effects were estimated by product-of-coefficients (a·b) approach. Results: 268 children (8.2 years, 57% girls at baseline) provided complete data at both time points. A significant intervention effect on MVPA during recess in the SB-I and PA-I groups compared with the control group (proportional difference in MVPA time; 38% (95% CI 21% to 57%) and 40% (95% CI 20% to 62%), respectively) was found. The perceived school play environment was significantly positively associated with MVPA at recess among girls. An increase in perceived social support from teachers suppressed the PA+SB-I effect on light PA during recess (a·b= −0.03, 95% CI −0.06 to −0.00). No significant mediating effects on PA during recess and lunchtime were observed. Conclusions: A positive perception of the school play environment was associated with higher MVPA during recess among girls. Future studies should conduct mediation analyses to explore underlying mechanisms of PA interventions.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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