Originally published by 2 Minute Medicine® (view original article). Reused on AccessMedicine with permission.

1. In this study, both the quality and quantity blended group (SSPlay) and the quality group (Play) demonstrated a significant increase in physical literacy (PL) compared to the control.

2. There was no interaction effect between intervention groups; although, time effects were found for physical activity (PA) and cognitive planning from baseline to post-intervention.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Physical literacy (PL) has been advocated as a framework to address the lack of PA levels in children. Ecological dynamics represents a novel form of PL that emphasizes a learner centered approach to increase PA levels by making changes in the child’s everyday environment. Because this model has not been conducted in a school setting, the objective of the present randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effects of two PL interventions that addressed either quality and quantity of play (SSPlay) or quality of play only (Play) in comparison to a control group on PL.

This single center three-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) included 79 4th grade participants (59.5% female) from 120 students in Hong Kong from January 2019 to March 2019. Students were excluded if they were unable to stand or performing daily tasks. Randomization to each of the three arms (SSPlay n=24, Play n=27, Control n=28) was conducted using Google random number generator. PA was measured by ActiGraph GT3X+ and PL was measured using the Chinese version of the Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used to assess between group comparisons.

Results demonstrated a significant increase in physical literacy (PL) in both interventions, even at 3-month follow-up. There was no interaction effect between intervention groups although time effects were found for physical activity (PA) and cognitive planning from baseline to post-intervention. However, the study was limited by the small sample size which may influence generalizability. Nonetheless, the results of this RCT demonstrate the potential of a blended ecological design for improving PL in children.

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