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Title: WWC Review of the Report "Evaluation of a Two-Year Middle-School Physical Education Intervention: M-SPAN"
Description: The 2004 study, Evaluation of a Two-Year Middle-School Physical Education Intervention: M-SPAN, investigated the effect of the Middle School Physical Activity and Nutrition (M-SPAN) intervention on the physical activity level of middle school students in 24 public middle schools from six districts in Southern California. M-SPAN aims to increase physical activity in physical education (PE) classes and reduce students’ fat intake by encouraging healthy eating habits. For this 2-year study, schools were stratified by school district and then randomly assigned to either M-SPAN or a comparison condition. The study assessed the effectiveness of M-SPAN by examining moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), the amount of time students spent either walking or being very active, and other types of activities and PE lesson content across schools that received the M-SPAN training. Study authors reported that the M-SPAN intervention caused a statistically significant improvement in the amount of time students spent in MVPA. The WWC confirmed that the M-SPAN intervention improved the MVPA in schools by an average of 3 minutes per lesson across the 2-year period of the study. This study is a well-implemented randomized controlled trial, and the research described meets WWC evidence standards without reservations. The WWC cautions that the changes in observed MVPA (and other outcomes) may be in part due to (a) changes in MVPA in intervention schools, (b) high-activity students moving into the intervention schools or low-activity students moving out of the comparison schools, or (c) a combination of both effects. This study cannot separate these effects—it can only report on their combined impact. Additionally, because the study analyzed school level data, the magnitude of the effects reported cannot be directly compared to the magnitude of an effect of an intervention that uses student-level data for the analysis.
Online Availability:
Cover Date: February 2013
Web Release: February 12, 2013
Print Release:
Publication #: WWC SSRSB10025
General Ordering Information
Center/Program: WWC
Associated Centers: NCEE
Type of Product: Single Study Review
Questions: For questions about the content of this Single Study Review, please contact:
Erin Pollard.