Sports Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 67–79 | Cite as

Do School-Based Interventions Focusing on Physical Activity, Fitness, or Fundamental Movement Skill Competency Produce a Sustained Impact in These Outcomes in Children and Adolescents? A Systematic Review of Follow-Up Studies

  • Samuel K. Lai
  • Sarah A. Costigan
  • Philip J. Morgan
  • David R. Lubans
  • David F. Stodden
  • Jo Salmon
  • Lisa M. BarnettEmail author
Systematic Review




The aim of this systematic review was to determine whether typically developing children and adolescents (aged 3–18 years) who have participated in school-based interventions have sustained outcomes in PA, fitness, and/or FMS.


A systematic search of six electronic databases (CINAHL® Plus with Full Text, Ovid MEDLINE®, SPORTDiscus™, Scopus, PsycINFO® and ERIC) was conducted from 1995 to 26 July 2012. Included studies were school-based studies (including randomized controlled trials, longitudinal cohort, quasi-experimental, and experimental) that had a positive effect at post intervention in at least one variable and had a follow-up PA, fitness, or FMS assessment at least 6 months after the post-intervention assessment. Risk of bias assessment was guided by the “Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses” statement.


The search identified 14 articles, and some studies addressed multiple outcomes: 13 articles assessed PA; three assessed fitness; and two assessed FMS. No study in this review met four key methodological criteria that have been shown to influence results, i.e., clarity on the randomization process, assessor blinding, analyzing participants in their original groups, and retaining sufficient participants through the entire study. Three-quarters (ten of 13) of the studies addressing PA, reported PA behavior change maintenance. The length of follow-up ranged from 6 months to 20 years, and the degree of PA difference reported was between 3 and 14 min per day. Only one of the three studies assessing fitness reported a sustained impact, whilst both studies that assessed FMS reported maintenance of effects.


It is likely that PA is a sustainable outcome from interventions in children and adolescents, and there is reasonable evidence that interventions of longer than 1 year and interventions that utilize a theoretical model or framework are effective in producing this sustained impact. It would seem probable that FMS are a sustainable outcome in children and adolescents; however, this finding should be viewed with caution given the lack of studies and the risk of bias assessment. More research is needed to assess the sustainability of fitness interventions as this review only included a handful of studies that addressed fitness and only one of these studies found a sustained impact.


Physical Activity Physical Activity Behavior Bias Assessment Sustained Impact Fundamental Movement Skill 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no potential conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review. LMB is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship (APP 1013507). JS is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Research Fellowship (APP1026216).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 38.5 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel K. Lai
    • 1
  • Sarah A. Costigan
    • 2
  • Philip J. Morgan
    • 2
  • David R. Lubans
    • 2
  • David F. Stodden
    • 4
  • Jo Salmon
    • 3
  • Lisa M. Barnett
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Health, School of Health and Social DevelopmentDeakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Education and Arts, Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and NutritionUniversity of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of Health, Centre for Physical Activity and NutritionDeakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Physical Education and Athletic TrainingUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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