How Feedback and Goal-Setting Impact Children’s Recess Physical Activity

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

Publication Date



In recent years, schools desire to promote physical activity (PA) for their students but are restricted due to resources being expended in other areas of their curriculum, including standardized testing preparation. Recess/lunch periods have potential to contribute important amounts of PA to youth’s overall levels. Interventions to maximize PA during recess are warranted. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the impact of feedback and goal-setting on students’ PA during recess. A sample of 136 (67 females, 69 males) 4th and 5th grade students in the Southeast United States wore unsealed Walk4Life pedometers during recess for one month. Steps, activity time, participant demographics, and weather were recorded daily. Participants engaged in three conditions during recess: baseline, feedback, and goal-setting. Findings indicated that boys were more active than the girls and the 4th grade participants were more active than the 5th grade participants. Results suggest that the goal setting condition was effective in increasing the percentage of time in PA during an unstructured recess period; however, it did not significantly increase participants’ steps per minute levels at recess. Goal-setting with children can be an effective intervention to increase physical activity during recess.


This article was originally published in International Journal of Exercise Science. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


International Journal of Exercise Science

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.