Pragmatic evaluation of the Go2Play Active Play intervention on physical activity and fundamental movement skills in children

Active play is a novel approach to addressing low physical activity levels and fundamental movement skills (FMS) in children. This study aimed to determine if a new school-based, ‘Go2Play Active Play’ intervention improved school day physical activity and FMS. This was a pragmatic evaluation conducted in Scotland during 2015–16. Participants (n = 172; mean age = 7 years) were recruited from seven primary schools taking part in the 5-month intervention, plus 24 participants not receiving the intervention were recruited to act as a comparison group.189 participants had physical activity measured using an Actigraph GT3X accelerometer at baseline and again at follow-up 5 months later. A sub-sample of participants from the intervention (n = 102) and comparison (n = 21) groups had their FMS assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD-2) at baseline and follow-up. Changes in school day physical activity and FMS variables were examined using repeated measures ANOVA. The main effect was ‘group’ on ‘time’ from baseline to follow-up. Results indicated there was a significant interaction for mean counts per minute and percent time in sedentary behavior, light intensity physical activity and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (all p < 0.01) for school day physical activity. There was a significant interaction for gross motor quotient (GMQ) score (p = 0.02) and percentile (p = 0.04), locomotor skills score and percentile (both p = 0.02), but no significant interaction for object control skills score (p = 0.1) and percentile (p = 0.3). The Go2Play Active Play intervention may be a promising way of improving physical activity and FMS but this needs to be confirmed in an RCT.

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Nature Play WA acknowledges the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation, as the custodians of the land where our team lives and works. We also acknowledge the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and recognise the continuing connection of Indigenous people to their land, waters, sky, culture and community. We pay our respect to all Indigenous people of this land; ancestors, elders and young ones.