Adding family digital supports to classroom-based physical activity interventions to target in- and out-of-school activity: An evaluation of the Stay Active intervention during the COVID-19 pandemic


mobile health
short messaging system (SMS)


Introduction: Interventions targeting multiple levels of influence and settings may have a greater impact on children’s total daily physical activity than those targeting a single setting. This study evaluated the addition of family supports to a classroom-based physical activity intervention.

Methods: 6 schools were randomized to a remotely delivered classroom-based physical activity only (CBPA) or classroom-based physical activity plus family (CBPA+) arm. The latter added behavior change tools (e.g., self-regulation) delivered via text messages and newsletters to caregiver/child dyads. The intervention lasted for 7 weeks with a 1-week baseline and 1-week post-intervention assessment (9 weeks total). Children who enrolled in the evaluation study received a Garmin activity monitor, which was used to tailor the text messages and evaluate changes in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Caregivers completed surveys evaluating intervention acceptability.

Results: The 53 child participants (CBPA n=35; CBPA+ n=18) were 9.7±0.7 years old, 64% were female, 59% were Black, and 23% were Hispanic/Latinx. Almost 90% of caregivers reported high satisfaction with the added family-based intervention content. Adherence to wearing the Garmin was higher in the CBPA+ arm. MVPA was low at baseline and during the first 3 weeks of the intervention (CBPA 7.5±3.1 minutes/day; CBPA+ 7.9±2.7 minutes/day) and increased by ~45 min/day by weeks 6-8 (CBPA 56.8±34.2 minutes/day; CBPA+ 49.2±18.7minutes/day). Changes in MVPA were similar between arms.

Conclusion: The high acceptability and intervention engagement in the CBPA+ arm show promise for integrating mHealth tools to provide additional family support in multilevel multiapproach interventions targeting children’s physical activity.


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