The iPlay program aims to get students to participate in 150 minutes of high-quality physical activity each week.
Physical activity includes:
- two to three classroom ‘energiser breaks’
- physically active homework once a week
- after-school physical activity at least once a week
- physical activity during recess and lunch.
In the initial trial, 460 students from eight NSW public schools increased their aerobic fitness by more than 20 per cent over 12 months. At the end of the trial, less than eight per cent of children had aerobic fitness levels that placed them in the at-risk category for cardiovascular disease.
Education Minister Rob Stokes said that the iPLAY initiative could deliver long-term health benefits and reduce the risk factors for chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
“The program also has the potential to improve student academic performance as research shows physical activity can enhance student concentration,” Mr Stokes said.
The NSW Department of Education funded the development of iPLAY with support from researchers at the University of Newcastle and the Australian Catholic University.