Literature Review

Initiative Description: Literature review that presents an overview of the existing evidence on the value of both school and preschool playgrounds on children’s health in terms of physical activity, cognitive and social outcomes. 13 experimental and 17 observational studies were summarized. Highlights from studies include ensuring that Playground equipment is available, decrease playground density, and increase recess duration.

Study Results:The experimental studies generated moderate evidence for an effect of the provision of play equipment, inconclusive evidence for an effect of the use of playground markings, allocating play space and for multi-component interventions, and no evidence for an effect of decreasing playground density, the promotion of physical activity by staff and increasing recess duration on children’s health. In line with this, observational studies showed positive associations between play equipment and children’s physical activity level. In contrast to experimental studies, significant associations were also found between children’s physical activity and decreased playground density and increased recess duration.

Reference: Broekhuizen, K., Scholten, A.-M., & de Vries, S. I. (2014). The value of
(pre)school playgrounds for children’s physical activity level: A systematic review. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 11, Article ID 59

Level of Evidence: 3 out of 5 stars Very Good