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Table 2 Overview of included studies

From: Utilising active play interventions to promote physical activity and improve fundamental movement skills in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Author, year and setting Study design sample size intervention/ control Age (range or mean ± SD), sex (n or % m/f Intervention duration Outcome(s) Intervention Details Comparison / Treatment EPHPP Quality Rating
Adamo et al. 2016 [22]& Goldfield et al. 2016 Canada [24] Cluster RCT 40/ 43 Intervention: age (3.4 ± 0.3), sex (18/22)
Control: age (3.4 ± 0.4), sex (23/20)
6-months PA measured using an Actical accelerometer
FMS measured using the TGMD-2
Weight status measured using stadiometer and digital scales.
Two 3-h training workshops to childcare providers. Workshops encouraged childcare providers to provide more outdoor active play (manuals provided). Basic equipment provided. Bi-weekly booster sessions provided. Regular childhood curriculum Moderate
Engelen et al. 2013
Australia [34]
Cluster RCT 113/ 108 Intervention: age (6.0 ± 0.6), sex (59/54)
Control: age, (6.0 ± 0.6), sex (60/48)
13-weeks PA measured using an ActiGraph accelerometer Loose parts equipment provided in the playground.
Two-hour information session for staff on playground duties aimed at highlighting the benefits of active free play.
Standard break times Weak
O’Dwyer et al. 2012 England [36] Cluster RCT 33/ 43 All: age (3.8 ± 0.6), sex (52%/48%), 10-weeks PA measured using an ActiGraph accelerometer 5 sessions over 10 weeks.
60 min delivery. The first 20 min children and parents were separated. Parents received educational component and children participated in active play. Final 40 min both children and parents participated in active play together.
No treatment Weak
Tortella et al. 2016 Italy [35] Cluster RCT 71/ 39 Intervention: age (5.6 ± 0.31), sex (41/30)
Control: age (5.7 ± 0.3), sex (22/17)
10-weeks FMS measured using Movement ABC 30 min of free play and 30 min of structured activities once a week for 10 weeks in the playground No treatment Weak
  1. RCT randomised controlled trial, SD standard deviation, n number