Which factors in the school playground influence tweens’ physical activity?

Introduction and aim

School recess is a crucial opportunity for children to be physically active. Nevertheless, we need to understand which factors in the school playground influence children’s physical activity.

Identifying these factors, whether they are individual, social, cultural, physical, organizational, political or environmental, can help guide future interventions for promoting active recess time.

This brief provides insights from two PhD theses conducted in 21 Danish and five New Zealand school playgrounds, involving 10-13-year-old children (tweens). The data are based on interviews, observations, accelerometer, and GPS measurements.

The insights we present in this brief, are valuable for policy and decision makers responsible for school playgrounds, as well as researchers and professionals working to design and plan school playgrounds.

18 factors influencing tweens physical activity

Key message

18 factors were identified as influencing tween’s recess physical activity. The factors are located within five layers: natural; political-organisational; physical; socio-cultural; and individual.

Key take home message

The findings of various types of factors suggest implementing a combination of actions in the school playground, and if we aim to increase physical activity it is important to address factors from different layers.

Sharing the research

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On the website, you’ll find a compilation of briefs that offer a clear comprehension of research findings and their implications for future research and practical application.

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