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Journal of Public Health

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 329–338 | Cite as

Forty-five minutes of physical activity at school each day? Curricular promotion of physical activity in grades one to four

  • Sebastian LierschEmail author
  • Vicky Henze
  • Markus Röbl
  • Jörg Schnitzerling
  • Thomas Suermann
  • Eckart Mayr
  • Christian Krauth
  • Ulla Walter
Original Article

Abstract

Aim

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (2008) and the World Health Organization (2008), regular physical activity is essential to the healthy development of children and contributes to the reduction of chronic diseases throughout their life span. However, coordinated comprehensive national and international programs to promote physical activity and sports participation are lacking. According to the German Sports Federation (2006), physical education (PE) classes at German schools are increasingly being canceled or taught outside the school. "fit for pisa" is a German intervention developed in response to the demand for scientific evaluation of interventions like daily physical education. Its goal is to provide quality management-secured, structured and standardized PE instruction by qualified instructors.

Subjects and methods

The "fit for pisa" intervention has been implemented at five primary schools in Göttingen, Germany, since 2003. This daily physical education intervention is based on quality standards. At the five primary schools participating in "fit for pisa," students receive a supplementary 3 class hours of PE/week in addition to the mandatory 2 class hours/week for the entire school term. In other words, the children now receive one 45-min session of PE each school day. Daily physical education is now a part of their mandatory school curriculum. The curriculum content and teaching methods have been continuously developed and optimized based on the state guidelines for Lower Saxony.

Results

Teacher training is held at the participating schools once a month to promote standardized implementation and quality management of the intervention program. Additional monthly meetings are held so that the teachers can discuss any problems, deviations or other issues occurring in the classes. Checklists are provided for the teachers and external trainers to document the content and objectives of each lesson. Supervisors evaluate the checklists at regular intervals. Using these instruments, the results of the 4-year intervention program were evaluated at the five participating primary schools.

Conclusions

This study provides important data for recommendations to implement additional physical education in primary schools, for the corresponding quality assurance instruments and for the optimization of physical education guidelines for primary schools.

Keywords

Physical education Primary school Children Prevention School-based program Program evaluation 

Notes

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Liersch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vicky Henze
    • 2
  • Markus Röbl
    • 3
  • Jörg Schnitzerling
    • 2
  • Thomas Suermann
    • 4
  • Eckart Mayr
    • 5
  • Christian Krauth
    • 1
  • Ulla Walter
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Epidemiology, Social Medicine and Health System Research, Hannover Medical SchoolHanoverGermany
  2. 2.ASC Göttingen von 1846 e.V.GöttingenGermany
  3. 3.Center for Child and Adolescent Health Göttingen, Georg August University of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  4. 4.Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians Lower SaxonyGöttingenGermany
  5. 5.Public Health Authorities of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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