Are school-based programs for promoting physical activity and fitness effective?

From: The Cochrane Collaboration

Journal rating:
rating: 98%
Study Quality:
rating: 100%

Overall Reliability

Article Quality:
rating: 75%
rating: 75%


  • 44 studies involving 36,593 children and adolescents aged 6 to 18


  • The paper is a systematic review / meta analysis of all relevant trials.
  • This means that the data from all similar trials has been grouped together to form an overall outcome.


  • Fitness improved in the children who participated in a program, and who engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity during school hours.
  • School-based programs also resulted in increased duration of physical activity per day, reducing time spent watching television, and increasing maximal oxygen uptake or aerobic capacity.
  • However, there was no improvement in increasing physical activity rates among adolescents, or in reducing blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI, and pulse rate in all children.


  • Yes (without confidence) – for increasing activity time and aerobic capacity.


Editors Notes

  • Duration of interventions ranged from 12 weeks to six years.