Outcomes of a School-Based Intervention (Rescate) to Improve Physical Activity Patterns in Mexican Children Aged 8–10 Years

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Vol.25 no.6 2010
Pages 1042–1049
Advance Access publication 24 September 2010

Outcomes of a school-based intervention (RESCATE) to
improve physical activity patterns in Mexican children
aged 8–10 years
E. Colın-Ramırez1, L. Castillo-Martınez1*, A. Orea-Tejeda1, ´
A. Vergara-Castaneda2, C. Keirns-Davis3 and A. Villa-Romero4 ˜

Heart Failure Clinic, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion ‘Salvador Zubiran’, Mexico City 14000, Mexico, ´
Asociacion Mexicana Para la Prevencion de Insuficiencia Cardiaca, Mexico City 03100, Mexico, 3Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA and 4Public Health Department, Medical School, Universidad ´

Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City 04510, Mexico
*Correspondence to: L. Castillo-Martınez, Providencia 1218-A 402 Col. del Valle, Benito Juarez, CP 03100 Mexico D.F., Mexico. E-mail: caml1225@yahoo.com




The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact
of an intervention program on the patterns of
physical activity in 8- to 10-year-old Mexican
children from lower socioeconomic status. This
study performed a randomized controlled field
trial in 498 children aged 8–10 years from 10
public schools of low socioeconomic status in
Mexico City. Schools were randomly assigned to
intervention (n 5 5) or control (n 5 5) groups and
followed up during 12 months. Physical and sedentary activities were assessed at the beginning of the program and after 6 and 12 months. At the
end of follow-up, there was a significant increase
in the performance of moderate physical activity
(MPA) among children in intervention group who
had not performed MPA at baseline any day of
the week (40%, P 5 0.04) but not in the control
group (8%, P 5 not significant). The intervention
group also showed a significant reduction in the
proportion of children who spent more than 3
hours a day playing video games (from 23 to
13%, P 5 0.01), while control group did not show
significant changes. Given these findings, we
conclude that intervention was able to modify
positively physical activity and reduce time spent
on such sedentary activities as video games
among those at highest risk studied children.

Cardiovascular disease remains among the leading causes of death in Mexico and throughout the world [1]. Obesity is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease [2], and it has recently undergone a considerable increase throughout the world, particularly among children and adolescents [3–5]. In 1999, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in schoolchildren (from 5 to 11 years of age) in Mexico was around 19% [6]; by 2006, it had grown to

26% [7].
Although biological factors may influence children’s risk for becoming overweight, compelling evidence suggests that children’s contexts such as the home and school environments promoting unhealthy eating and exercise habits are precursors of obesity [8]. Physical activity and inactivity are

the most variable components in energy output and
are to some degree under voluntary control [9].
Since growth and development during childhood
require considerable nutritional intake, increased
physical activity results in better weight control
than diet alone [10].
Childhood and adolescence are critical periods
for the acquisition of healthy habits, including
physical activity. There is evidence that levels of
physical activity diminish significantly during the

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Received on December 23, 2009; accepted on August 13, 2010

Program to improve physical activity in Mexican children

Participants and recruitment
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