Evaluation: Start2Finish 20/20 Challenge

Evaluation of an in-school daily physical activity initiative for children and youth: The Start2Finish 20/20 Challenge

What is this study about?

The school system is one setting in which children’s physical activity levels may be increased through daily physical activity (DPA) policies and initiatives. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a range of psychosocial outcomes following a community-led, in-school DPA initiative for 9-14 year old children and youth.

What did we do?

We evaluated a DPA program consisting of 20 minutes of teacher-led DPA for 20 consecutive weeks. Student outcomes were measured using a questionnaire administered at three time points: baseline, mid-intervention, and post-intervention. A teacher questionnaire regarding program adherence and student behaviour was completed at post-intervention.

What did we find?

Thirty classes (N=19 experimental) from 7 schools participated in the study, with a total of 362 children (n=265 experimental). There was no significant overall effect of the intervention and the exploratory analyses demonstrated significant differences only for self-esteem and subjective happiness, with the control group slightly increasing relative to the experimental group. Teacher-reported adherence to the program was poor with only 21% of teachers adhering to the program. There was no association between overall adherence and student reported outcomes; however, positive correlations were present between adherence and teacher-reported student behaviour.

What does this mean?

The DPA program evaluated here did not improve the psychosocial well-being of elementary school-aged children more than usual practices. However, adherence to the program was poor and it did not have a negative effect on the students. Future work is needed on how best to support DPA implementation in the context of the school day and how student well-being may be positively impacted through school-based physical activity.