• The Daily Mile™ initiative: Exploring physical activity and the acute effects on executive function and academic performance in primary school children

      Morris, J.L.; Daly-Smith, Andrew; Archbold, V.S.J.; Wilkins, E.L.; McKenna, J. (2019-11)
      For schools to consider physical activity (PA) interventions, improvements must be shown in PA and additional educational benefits such as executive function (EF) and academic performance (AP). Over 8800 schools worldwide have implemented The Daily Mile™ (TDM), without any formal assessments of its impact. Rigorous and high-quality studies are needed to explore TDM's contribution to moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) guidelines and potential impact on EFs and AP. Methods: Children (14 classes, n = 303, age mean = 8.99 ± 0.5) from 11 primary schools already implementing TDM consented. At the individual level, children were randomly assigned using a 4-block process to either TDM or continued academic lessons (TDM n = 158, control n = 145). Children completed pre and post, EF tests (Trail Making Task; Digit Recall; Flanker; Animal Stroop) and a maths fluency test (Maths Addition and Subtraction, Speed and Accuracy Test). Accelerometers assessed MVPA using 15-s-epochs and Evenson cut-points. Results: Using multi-level modelling, TDM revealed significantly greater MVPA (+10.23 min) and reduced sedentary time (−9.28 min) compared to control (p ≤ 0.001, d = 4.92, 3.61 retrospectively). Maths fluency interacted with condition and time (p = 0.031, d = 0.25); post hocs revealed no significances over time (p > 0.05). No differences in EFs (all p > 0.05). Conclusions: This study is the first assessing the acute effects of TDM compared to continued academic lessons. TDM revealed no significant improvements in maths fluency or EF. These findings question justifying the widespread adoption of TDM based on enhanced cognition claims. Nonetheless, TDM may provide 10 min of MVPA, achieving a third of the daily in school recommendations to meet overall daily recommendations.
    • Systematic review of acute physically active learning and classroom movement breaks on children's physical activity, cognition, academic performance and classroom behaviour: understanding critical design features.

      Daly-Smith, Andrew; Zwolinsky, S; McKenna, J.; Tomporowski, P.D.; Defeyter, M.A.; Manley, A. (2018)
      To examine the impact of acute classroom movement break (CMB) and physically active learning (PAL) interventions on physical activity (PA), cognition, academic performance and classroom behaviour. Systematic review. PubMed, EBSCO, Academic Search Complete, Education Resources Information Center, PsycINFO, SPORTDiscus, SCOPUS and Web of Science. Studies investigating school-based acute bouts of CMB or PAL on (PA), cognition, academic performance and classroom behaviour. The Downs and Black checklist assessed risk of bias. Ten PAL and eight CMB studies were identified from 2929 potentially relevant articles. Risk of bias scores ranged from 33% to 64.3%. Variation in study designs drove specific, but differing, outcomes. Three studies assessed PA using objective measures. Interventions replaced sedentary time with either light PA or moderate-to-vigorous PA dependent on design characteristics (mode, duration and intensity). Only one study factored individual PA outcomes into analyses. Classroom behaviour improved after longer moderate-to-vigorous (>10 min), or shorter more intense (5 min), CMB/PAL bouts (9 out of 11 interventions). There was no support for enhanced cognition or academic performance due to limited repeated studies. Low-to-medium quality designs predominate in investigations of the acute impacts of CMB and PAL on PA, cognition, academic performance and classroom behaviour. Variable quality in experimental designs, outcome measures and intervention characteristics impact outcomes making conclusions problematic. CMB and PAL increased PA and enhanced time on task. To improve confidence in study outcomes, future investigations should combine examples of good practice observed in current studies. CRD42017070981.