The purpose is to examine the possible effect caused by extra physical education lessons in a large group of 0th to 4th grade children attending public schools in the municipality of Svendborg. Our primary hypothesis is that we will see an average increase of 10% in the children’s physical activity level compared to the children in the control group.
The intervention consists of 6 lessons in physical education each week. At the schools, 3 double physical education lessons are offered to children attending the 0th to 4th grade (during the 3 years intervention the program will include 0th to 6th grade children). The intervention program will be based on the general age-related principles described by Team Danmark, in order to insure that the children will achieve the optimal physiologically and metabolically training-related effects, based on the available knowledge within this field. Furthermore, this training concept is chosen since the goal is that all children during the intervention period should experience a balanced psychological and social development.
This is a prospective intervention study including approx. 1200 school children – an intervention group with approx. 600 children coming from 6 different schools, and a control group with approx. 600 children coming from 4 matching schools in the municipality of Svendborg. The schools are matched according to their uptake area and size.
Effect parameters and evaluation
The children are examined twice a year by a scientific staff affiliated to the project. The average increase in the physical activity level, which is expected as a consequence of the intervention, is thought to cause a positive effect with respect to the children’s motor skill performance, incidence of sports-related injuries, bone health, problems related to the back, and the overall metabolic risk profile, which we all ready know can be linked to later development of lifestyle related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and type II diabetes. Therefore, the primary effect parameters will be potential differences between the intervention group and control group within the following parameters, which are compared six times during the intervention period:
- Physical activity level (assessed by accelerometry)
- Physical fitness (including aerobic performance)
- Body composition
- Blood pressure
- Risk markers in the blood (including insulin, glucose, HDL- and LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride)
- Incidence of injuries and back problems (registered by the use of SMS-track)
- Motor skill performance (including balance, precision and quickness)
- Bone health (including bone mineral content and risk of fracture)
Furthermore, it is expected, that the extra amount of physical education lessons will contribute to a larger group of talents, which can be interesting and important in the long term also for the Danish elite sport institution, Team Denmark.
Baseline data were collected in September/October 2008, and the first follow data were collected in January/February 2009. The second follow up measurements will be performed in September/October 2009.
Employees and current Ph.D projects
Project leader: MD, Ph.D. Niels Wedderkopp
Daily leader: Cand. Scient, Ph.d. Niels Christian Møller
PhD students - finished
Physiotherapist, Cand. Scient. San. Heidi Klakk: Body Composition and Cardiovascular Health in School-aged Children.
The Childhood Health, Activity and Motor Performance School Study Denmark. An evaluation on the health effect of sport schools in the Svendborg Project
Physiotherapist Eva Jespersen: Musculoskeletal extremity injuries in school-aged children with special focus on overuse injuries, seasonal variation and body composition
MD Marlene Søborg Heidemann: Bone health in Danish children - an intervention study
PhD students - not finished
Chiropractor Christina Christiansen: The influence of age related concepts of training on physical fitness, physical coordination and the number of sports injury
Chiropractor Claudia Franz: Impact of increased physical activity on back problems in children.
The partners in the Project are: Team Danmark, UCL Lillebælt, , Svendborg Kommune, Steffen Husby og Jørgen Schou, H.C. Andersen Børnehospital.
This project requires a substantial amount of man-power, especially when collecting data. Therefore, we appreciate the great interest and contribution from so many people, especially sports students, physiotherapist students, chiropractic students, and nurse students.