School-Based Strategies Found Moderately Effective in Improving Fitness in Children and Teens

Evaluating the effectiveness of health behavior change interventions in children and adolescents

In 2001 and 2002, investigators at the Behavioral Medicine Laboratory at the State University of New York at Buffalo evaluated the effectiveness of school-based interventions to increase physical activity or aerobic fitness among children and adolescents.

Key Findings

  • Researchers reported the following findings:

    • School-based interventions are moderately effective in increasing physical activity and fitness in children and adolescents.
    • Interventions that targeted physical activity or fitness alone produced significantly larger improvements in fitness compared to interventions that targeted physical activity or fitness plus other health-related behaviors, such as nutrition and smoking.
    • School-based interventions produced similar improvements in physical activity or fitness in both children and in adolescents.
    • Although boys and girls both increased their fitness levels significantly, girls tended to show larger increases than boys.