Impact of the Boston Active School Day Policy to Promote Physical Activity Among Children

A group of teens playing soccer.

The Boston Public Schools implemented a plan for the Active School Day policy implementation on physical activity.

The Issue:

Children and adolescents are falling short of meeting the recommended 60 minutes per day of physical activity set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Implementation of the Active School Day policy increased levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) by 24 percent and decreased the amount of sedentary time at a modest cost of $14 per student.  

Key Findings

  • After the intervention, students achieved approximately 41 percent of the recommended time (60 min/day) of MVPA, an increase from 27 percent at baseline.

  • School-level implementation costs were estimated to be $4,523 for a school of approximately 325 students, or $14 per student.


Schools can effectively increase the amount of MVPA and decrease sedentary time among the students by implementing Active School Day policies. A limitation to this study is that it only measured total school day physical activity; it did not measure which intervention components were more or less beneficial.

About the Study:

Twenty-six classrooms in six schools in Boston were included in the study from February to June 2011 involving 455 fourth and fifth graders. Accelerometer data was collected for five days during baseline and follow up for 201 intervention students and 192 comparison students.