Are interventions to promote physical activity in children a waste of time?

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e6320 (Published 27 September 2012)
Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6320

Get access to this article and all of bmj.com for the next 14 days

Sign up for a 14 day free trial today

Access to the full text of this article requires a subscription or payment. Please log in or subscribe below.

  1. Mark Hamer, principal research associate,
  2. Abigail Fisher, senior research associate
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
  1. m.hamer{at}ucl.ac.uk

No, finding an intervention that works is essential

Environment impacts strongly on children's activity

SALLY AND RICHARD GREENHILL

Physically active children are more likely to remain active into adulthood, and maintaining a physically active lifestyle throughout life has considerable health benefits.1 2 3 Current UK guidelines state that all children and adolescents should engage in physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity for at least 60 minutes a day.4 However, recent objective data from the Health Survey for England confirmed that only 33% of boys and 21% of girls currently meet those guidelines,5 and further research has shown a dramatic drop off in activity levels from childhood to adolescence.6 Thus, developing effective interventions to promote physical activity in children is crucial.

In a linked research paper (doi:10.1136/bmj.e5888), Metcalf and colleagues report findings from a meta-analysis of studies that together examined 30 interventions aimed at promoting physical activity in children.7 The results indicate a small to negligible pooled effect on total time spent in physical activity, with disappointing improvements in the time spent in moderate to vigorous intensity activities (about four minutes a day). The current analysis differs from previous systematic reviews on this …

Get access to this article and all of bmj.com for the next 14 days

Sign up for a 14 day free trial today

Access to the full text of this article requires a subscription or payment. Please log in or subscribe below.

Article access

Article access for 1 day

Purchase this article for £20 $30 €32*

The PDF version can be downloaded as your personal record

* Prices do not include VAT

THIS WEEK'S POLL