Contribution of school recess to daily physical activity: systematic review

John J Reilly, Grant Johnston, Stuart McIntosh, Anne Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study aimed to estimate school recess moderate-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA). A systematic review was carried out in MEDLINE and SportDiscus to identify observational studies where MVPA had been measured objectively during school recess. Study quality was assessed formally. Twenty-four eligible studies in primary school pupils (N= 5,778 individuals), revealed a weighted mean of 12 minutes MVPA per school day. Only two eligible studies were identified in high school pupils (N= 399 individuals). The evidence was generally of moderately high quality. Recess makes a small contribution to daily MVPA. Substantial policy effort is likely to be needed if recess is to make a more useful contribution to MVPA among children and adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Behavior and Policy Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Mar 2016


  • school
  • physical activity
  • child
  • exercise
  • youth
  • systematic review


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