Reducing sedentary behaviour and increasing physical activity among 10-year-old children: overview and process evaluation of the 'Switch-Play' intervention

Salmon, Jo; Ball, Kylie; Crawford, David; Booth, Michael; Telford, Amanda; Hume, Clare; Jolley, Damien; Worsley, Anthony
March 2005
Health Promotion International;Mar2005, Vol. 20 Issue 1, p4
Academic Journal
Overweight and obesity has doubled among children in Australia. There is an urgent need to develop primary prevention strategies to prevent current and future unhealthy weight gain. The aims of this paper are to describe a randomized controlled trial (‘Switch-Play’) developed to prevent unhealthy weight gain among 10-year-old children and to report the findings of the process evaluation. Children from three government primary schools were randomized by class to one of four conditions: a behavioural modification group (BM;n = 69); a fundamental motor skills group (FMS; n = 73); a combined BM and FMS group (n = 90); or a control (usual classroom lessons) group (n = 61). Children in the BM group participated in 19 sessions that encouraged them to reduce screen-based behaviours, and identified physical activity alternatives. The FMS group participated in 19 lessons that focused on mastery of six skills: run, throw, dodge, strike, vertical jump and kick. The combined group participated in all the BM and FMS activities. The intervention specialist teacher reported that the children showed high enjoyment and engagement (88% lessons attended) in most aspects of the programme. At-home tasks were completed by 57–62% of the children, and 92% completed the in-class tasks. Two-thirds of the children in the BM group participated in the behavioural contracting to switch off the TV. Most of the children reported high enjoyment of the programmes, and only a small proportion (7–17%) reported difficulties in switching off their nominated TV shows. More than half the children reported reducing their TV viewing; however, less than half reported increasing their physical activity. It was found that most aspects of the intervention arms of the programme were successfully delivered to the majority of children participating in ‘Switch-Play’; that the programmes were delivered as intended; and that the programmes were favourably evaluated by participating children and their parents.


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