Supplemental fitness activities and fitness in urban elementary school classrooms

Mark B. Stephens, Susan W. Wentz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: The physical activity levels of US children are declining. Opportunities for physical activity within city schools are constrained by time and space limits. This study determined whether a supplemental program of physical activity would significantly alter the fitness levels of low- income, minority, urban elementary schoolchildren. Methods: Ninety-nine students from two Cleveland Public Schools served as subjects. One school received a 15-week intervention program where teams of two medical students met with urban elementary schoolchildren three times a week for physical activity sessions. The other school served as a control and received no supplemental activity other than a regularly scheduled physical education class held once a week. We obtained field measurements of skinfold thickness, heart rate response to submaximal exercise, and sit and reach flexibility. Results: The supplemental activity group showed significant improvements in flexibility, body composition, and heart rate response to submaximal exercise. Conclusions: This investigation indicates that a program of fitness activities conducted within the classroom can significantly improve levels of fitness in urban elementary schoolchildren.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-223
Number of pages4
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Family Practice


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