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Active Smarter Kids: A Cluster-randomized Controlled Trial (ASK)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT02132494
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : May 7, 2014
Last Update Posted : October 2, 2019
The Research Council of Norway
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Eivind Aadland, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Brief Summary:

The relationship between physical activity and academic performance has received widespread attention owing to the pressure on schools to graduate pupils who meet accepted academic standards. As important, there are global concerns regarding the increased prevalence of lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs). First, Norway has a history of mediocre scores on international comparative academic performance tests such as Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) [1]. It is therefore important to develop and evaluate strategic programs that may enhance pupil's academic performance. It is increasingly evident that a physical activity strategy that brings about enhanced cognitive function, better blood flow, and more, plays a key role in this effort [2]. Second, the prevalence of NCDs, such as diabetes mellitus type 2, is increasing worldwide, and such NCDs affect people of all ages [3]. Hence, healthcare costs are escalating to unaffordable levels. The best means to deal with this immense problem is through primary prevention, and physical activity is a powerful common denominator known to play a key role in preventing a host of NCDs [4].

Consequently, both World Health Organization (WHO) and the Norwegian health authorities call for effective primary prevention strategies to promote physical activity in children and adolescents [5, 6]. Prop. 90 L (2010-2011) Act on public health work [6] emphasizes that physical activity in school can benefit both the learning process and public health prevention.

Therefore, the objective of the ASK-study is to investigate the effects on academic performance of 60 minutes of daily physical activity during one school year. Furthermore, due to the complexity in the relationship between physical activity and academic performance, it is necessary to identify possible mediating and moderating variables as cognitive performance, quality of life (QoL), classroom behavior, motor skills and motivation. Also, we aim to investigate changes in risk factors related to NCDs and factors that influence NSDs, such as physical activity, sedentary behavior and health-related fitness.

In addition a qualitative part of the ASK-Study will be conducted to get an in-depth understanding of the children's embodied experiences and the meaning of the social learning culture in school physical activity (PA). This will give us an in-depth description of the intervention context, offer insight in how the intervention possibly influences children's overall development and enables us to estimate potential long term effects of the intervention.

If successful, the ASK cluster-randomized controlled trial (RCT) could provide much needed solutions to enhancing schoolchildren's academic performance and position the school as an effective setting for a massive public health intervention concerning the prevention of NCDs.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Academic Performance; Primary Prevention; Physical Activity Behavioral: Physical activity Not Applicable

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 1202 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Active Smarter Kids: A Cluster-randomized Controlled Trial Investigating the Effect of Daily Physical Activity on Children's Academic Performance and on Risk Factors for Lifestyle-related Non-communicable Diseases
Study Start Date : March 2014
Actual Primary Completion Date : June 2015
Actual Study Completion Date : June 2015

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Physical activity
60 minutes of daily physical activity during one school year
Behavioral: Physical activity
No Intervention: Control

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Academic performance [ Time Frame: October 2014 - June 2015 (8 months) ]
    Academic performance will be measured by Norwegian "national tests" in Numeracy, Norwegian and English

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Risk factors for lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) [ Time Frame: August 2014 - June 2015 (10 months) ]
    We will measure physical activity, sedentary behavior, health-related physical fitness, measures of adiposity, blood pressure and biomarkers for metabolic health

  2. Executive functions [ Time Frame: August 2014 - June 2015 (10 months) ]
    Inhibition, working memory and cognitive flexibility will be assessed by pen-and-paper testing

  3. Qualitative study of embodied experiences and interpersonal relations [ Time Frame: August 2014 - June 2015 (10 months) ]
    Qualitative methods will be used to explore how children act in the context of physical education and the ASK-intervention, and how their experiences are constructed in the interaction between individual and social factors. We will also explore to what extent children are capable to reflect over their bodily and social experiences.

Other Outcome Measures:
  1. Quality of life and well-being [ Time Frame: August 2014 - June 2015 (10 months) ]
    We will measure self-reported physical well-being, psychological well-being, autonomy & parent relation, social support & peers and school environment.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   8 Years to 11 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • all children attending 5th grade at the invited schools in Sogn og Fjordane county (Norway) during the school-year 2014/2015

Exclusion Criteria:

  • those children whom for language barriers are unable to perform national tests in Numeracy, Norwegian and English

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT02132494

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Sogn og Fjordane University College
Sogndal, Sogn Og Fjordane, Norway, 6851
Sponsors and Collaborators
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
The Research Council of Norway
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Principal Investigator: Sigmund A Anderssen, PhD Sogn og Fjordande University College
1. Kjærnsli, M., Tid for tunge løft: norske elevers kompetanse i naturfag, lesing og matematikk i PISA 2006. 2007, Oslo: Universitetsforl.
3. WHO, World Health Organization. Prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases: implementation of the global strategy. 2008, WHO: Geneva.
4. WHO, World Health Organization [cited 2013 15.08]; Available from: 2011, WHO.
5. WHO, World Health Organization. Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. 57th World Health Assembly. 2004, WHO: Geneva.
6. PttSL, (2010-2011) Act on public health work.Lov om Folkehelsearbeid. 2010

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):

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Responsible Party: Eivind Aadland, Associate professor, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences Identifier: NCT02132494    
Other Study ID Numbers: HISF_2014
2013/1893 ( Registry Identifier: The South-East A Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (Norway) )
First Posted: May 7, 2014    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: October 2, 2019
Last Verified: October 2019