Feasibility and acceptability of a classroom-based active breaks intervention for 8-12-year old children

Gillian McLellan, Rosie Arthur, Samantha Donnelly, Andisheh Bakhshi, Sarah Taylor , Stuart J Fairclough, Duncan S Buchan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


This study explored the feasibility of conducting a classroom-based active breaks intervention on sedentary behaviour (SB), physical activity (PA) and attention in 8-12 year old children.

Eight schools were randomised on a 1:1 basis to the control or intervention. Teachers selected ten cards detailing an activity break at random. Children then undertook each of the ten activity breaks for 30 sec, three times per day for six weeks. School and participant recruitment, attrition rates, % of outcome measures collected, and acceptability were used to explore the feasibility of the study. Mixed effects models were undertaken to examine intervention effects upon measures of PA, SB and attention.

Two hundred and thirty-nine consent forms were issued and 153 were returned (64%). Of the 153 consents, 146 children (95%) were measured at baseline, and 117 participated in the follow-up measures (80%) six weeks later suggesting the intervention was acceptable for the participants. From teacher interviews it was noted that the intervention was feasible to implement, and teachers observed positive classroom behaviour changes in children. Inclusion rates for outcome measures ranged from 49 to 66%. Significant, intervention effects were observed for sitting time (B = -27.19; 95%CI: -36.84, -17.17), standing time (B = 23.51; 95%CI 14.1, 32.45) and the number of sit to stand transitions (B = 16.1; 95%CI 4.7, 26.79).

Findings suggest that it was feasible and acceptable to implement an active breaks intervention within the classroom setting. Future work should consider the effectiveness of implementing this intervention across a full academic year.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-824
Number of pages12
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number4
Early online date8 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

Data Availability Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available upon reasonable request from the corresponding author [DSB].


  • School
  • Executive function
  • ActiGraph
  • activPAL


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