Implementation and effectiveness of a physical education intervention in primary school on physical fitness qualities

Christel Galvani, M Milani, Luca Floreani, C Bonfanti, Marisa Vicini, R Codella, Giuseppe Boari

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of 20 physical education lessons taught by qualified physical education teaching assistants in improving physical fitness qualities. A second aim was to estimate the feasibility of a validated [1, 2], functional, and easily administered test battery for measuring children’s physical fitness. Methods: 40,360 children, 20,758 boys and 19,602 girls (Boys: age, 8.7 ± 1.5 years; height, 131.6 ± 10.3 cm; weight, 30.5 ± 8.4 kg; Girls: age, 8.7 ± 1.5 years; height, 130.4 ± 10.8 cm; weight, 29.6 ± 8.1 kg), from 5 to 12 years old, were involved in the study. 20 9 60 min physical education lessons, to be delivered once a week between November 2015 and May 2016, were conducted by a qualified physical education teaching assistant. Anthropometric measures (BMI z-score), cardiorespiratory fitness (6 min walk test_6MWT), musculoskeletal fitness (standing broad jump_SBJ) and motor fitness (4x10 m shuttle run test_SRT) were evaluated at baseline and after 6 months. Results: Overall, the children in each age group were able to perform all of the test items, indicating the suitability of the test battery for children as young as 5 years of age. After 6 months girls slightly decreased BMI z-score (D = -0.0034, p = 0.1054), while boys significantly increased BMI z-score (D = 0.367, p\0.0001). Mean values indicate that all parameters were significantly modified in both groups (6MWT, D = 24 m, p\0.0001; SBJ, D = 5 cm, p\0.0001; SRT, D = -0.6 s, p\0.0001) with respect to baseline data, boys achieving higher improvement in the SRT (p = 0.0141) when compared to their counterparts. Conclusions: The proposed school-based program showed effectiveness and feasibility. Our results suggest that childhood is a possible specific time window for physical fitness enhancement. The differences observed by gender highlight the need to use different strategies to increase the involvement of all the participants. References Artero EG (2011) Int J Sports Med 32(3):159–169. Lammers AE (2008) Arch Dis Child 93(6):464–468
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-4
Number of pages2
JournalSport Sciences for Health
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventSISMES’s 8th National Congress - Roma, Italia
Duration: 7 Oct 20169 Oct 2016


  • physucal education
  • primary school


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