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Objective: To investigate the relation of classroom physical activity breaks to students' physical activity and classroom behavior. Methods: Six elementary-school districts in California implemented classroom physical activity interventions in 2013–2014. Students' (N = 1322) accelerometer-measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during school and teachers' (N = 397) reports of implementation and classroom behavior were assessed in 24 schools at two time points (both post-intervention). Mixed-effects models accounted for nested data. Results: Minutes/day of activity breaks was positively associated with students' MVPA (βs = .07–.14; ps = .012–.016). Students in classrooms with activity breaks were more likely to obtain 30 min/day of MVPA during school (OR = 1.75; p = .002). Implementation was negatively associated with students having a lack of effort in class (β = − .17; p = .042), and student MVPA was negatively associated with students being off task or inattentive in the classroom (β = − .17; p = .042). Students provided with 3–4 physical activity opportunities (classroom breaks, recess, PE, dedicated PE teacher) had ≈ 5 more min/day of school MVPA than students with no opportunities (B = 1.53 min/opportunity; p = .002). Conclusions: Implementing classroom physical activity breaks can improve student physical activity during school and behavior in the classroom. Comprehensive school physical activity programs that include classroom-based activity are likely needed to meet the 30 min/day school physical activity guideline.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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