n International SportMed Journal - Effects of physical activity intervention in youth : a review

Volume 2, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1528-3356



The article reviews the peer-reviewed literature on physical activity interventions for children and adolescents. A meta-analytic approach was used in which effect sizes from each study are pooled to provide a global estimate of effectiveness. A search was conducted using computer-based databases including MEDLINE, PyschLit, Social Science Index, and SPORTDiscus. Manual searches were also conducted using the reference lists from recovered articles. Applying strict criteria for quality of design and assessment of physical activity, 10 studies were located, yielding a total of 44 effect sizes. The mean effect size was 0.47 (95% confidence interval .28-.66), suggesting that interventions have produced moderate increases in physical activity. Effect sizes ranged from -0.61 to 2.5. Interventions focusing on increasing the amount of physical activity performed during regular physical education were more effective than those targeting overall levels of physical activity. Interventions were almost entirely school-based. Developing and evaluating community-based approaches for promoting physical activity among young people, especially older adolescents, remains an urgent priority for future research.

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