An internal sense of control in a particular domain such as physical activity is likely to enhance the intrinsic desire to engage in future opportunities. In this study, the ability of seven-year-old children to mange their own daily physical activity was evaluated in a randomised controlled trial involving 30 (15 experimental and 15 control) primary schools in Perth, Western Australia. The six month Play5 intervention involved a series of home and school based strategies to support children to make active choices pre, post and 6 months after the intervention. Where complete data sets were available, analyses revealed different trends for boys (experimental = 29, contol = 28) and girls (experimental = 23, control = 27). In general, males in the experimental group reduced the time spent in sedentary activities, particularly screen time whereas girls increased the time spent engaged in vigorous physical activity. These findings indicate that young children are able to choose to be less sedentary and more active even without specific reinforcement of strategies at home or school during the post-intervention phase.
Hands, B., Larkin, D., Parker, H., & Rose, E. (2007). Play5 every day: Children taking control of their own physical activity level. Paper presented at the 25th International/Biennial ACHPER Conference: PACE Yourself 2007. Fremantle, WA, 3-6 October.