Erect Architecture

Erect Architecture

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A little more background information on the pilot project – why school playgrounds were chosen for interventions, as well as key findings by UCL about the effectiveness of the measures.

Why Camden chose school playgrounds:

In Britain, primary school children can experience up to 600 recess periods a year, which account for up to 25% of the school day.

Despite recess representing physical activity opportunities on a daily basis, research has indicated that boys only spend about a third of their time during recess engaging in physical activity, with girls spending even less time (23%).

Whereas boys view playtime as an opportunity to engage in competitive games, girls tend to view recess as a way to socialise. They are more sedentary and engage in less vigorous activity than boys.

Other factors contributing to reduced physical activity during recess include lack of access to equipment, reduced space and reduced time in which to play.

What UCL found out monitoring the project until 18month after completion:

Changing the physical environment did not influence vigorous physical activity. It was however effective in reducing sedentary time in younger children.

The measures were less successful in older children (such as secondary schools) where more intensive interventions at individual, family, and societal level are suggested.

Qualitative data suggested that children enjoyed the new playgrounds and experienced positive change in wellbeing and social interactions.

Hamer et al. BMC Public Health (2017) 17:552

DOI 10.1 186/s12889-017-4483-5

Food for thought – contradiction in terms?

Interestingly, the popular secondary school items (trampolines) were taken out as the school felt it encouraged too boisterous behaviour. 

Susanne Tutsch