An Observational Evaluation of Move-To-Improve, a Classroom-Based Physical Activity Program, New York City Schools, 2010
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An Observational Evaluation of Move-To-Improve, a Classroom-Based Physical Activity Program, New York City Schools, 2010

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    Few children in the United States achieve the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Identifying successful interventions that increase physical activity for children is critical. This observational study evaluated the effects of Move-To-Improve (MTI), a classroom-based physical education program designed for kindergarten to third-grade teachers in New York City public schools. MTI organizes 3-hour trainings for teachers that demonstrate strategies for integrating activity into daily classroom schedules.


    Randomly sampled elementary schools (N = 39) with classrooms trained in MTI in spring 2010 participated in the evaluation. In each school, we observed 2 classrooms trained in MTI and 2 untrained classrooms in the same school matched by grade level for 1 full school day. We analyzed data from 72 trained and 72 untrained classrooms.


    Ninety-nine percent of MTI-trained classroom teachers led their students in physical activity. MTI-trained classrooms spent an average of 9.5 minutes in physical activity per day, compared with 2.4 minutes in untrained classrooms (P < .001), an almost fourfold increase in activity. Levels of activity were higher in trained versus untrained classrooms regardless of grade level or class size.


    Teachers trained in MTI led their classrooms in significantly more physical activity compared with teachers who were not trained. The MTI program is an effective strategy for increasing physical activity during the school day. A curriculum that empowers classroom teachers to incorporate activity into their regular day is a practical approach to promoting healthier living for children.

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