gms | German Medical Science

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annual Assembly of the German and the Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

26.-29.10.2011, Salzburg, Austria

How long do the positive effects of school-sponsored sport activities last?

Meeting Abstract

  • author presenting/speaker Simone Grossgasteiger - General Hospital Bolzano/Department of Sportsmedicine - FMSI/AMS Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy
  • corresponding author Sandra Frizzera - General Hospital Bolzano/Department of Sportsmedicine - FMSI/AMS Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy
  • author Sergio Toccacieli - Province College for Health-Care Professions Claudiana, Bolzano, Italy

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Salzburg, 26.-29.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11esm195

doi: 10.3205/11esm195, urn:nbn:de:0183-11esm1958

Published: October 24, 2011

© 2011 Grossgasteiger et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: In the literature it is widely documented that practicing motor skills and sport activities is fundamental for the physical and psychological development of the child and the adolescent.

The epochal changes of the last 50 years (motorization and computerization) have created a “sitting” society, and very often the time spent in school dedicated to physical education is the only time left, since yards have been substituted by computers and televison sets. On top of this, political choices based exclusively on economic criteria tend to reduce even more physical activity in school.

The purpose of this study is to reexamine, after 5 years, a group of children who had taken part in a “sport project” organized by their elementary school during school time. The sport project consisted in adding to the school schedule 8 hours of motor sport activities (2 hrs of nordic skiing, 2 hrs of ice-skating, 2 hrs of swimming, 2 hrs of motor activities in the gym) to document whether the benefits experienced at the end of elementary school (reduction in overweight, better school grades, better results in coordination tests, explosive force and aerobic capacity) were still present and whether they had changed the family’s lifestyle.

Material/Methods: From 1995 to 2000, 21 children (sport group) who took part in the sport project – together with 39 children (control group) who attended the same school - were examined annually: physical exam with anthropometric measurements, exercise testing with measurement of the aerobic capacity, motor evaluation testing, and also speed, strength, and coordination testing.

In 2005, 44 boys and girls (14 belonging to the sport group and 30 to the control group) were reexamined. The average age of the subjects examined, calculated on April 1, 2005, was 15 years and two months (SD 0.36) for the males and 15 years and three months (SD 0.45) for the females.

The sport anamnesis, academic achievements, physical exams with anthropometric parameters, exercise testing at the cycloergometer, coordination and explosive abdominal force testing were all reviewed.

Results: The improvements registered at the end of the 5 years in the experimental group (a smaller percentage of overweight children, better school grades, aerobic capacity, and coordination) were no longer confirmed.


The addition of motor sport activities to the scholastic educational program brings about indisputable benefits to the students’ health (especially in terms of overweight, coordination capabilities) and also to their academic achievements.
Such benefits disappear with the interruption of sport activities.
The direction offered by the school environment for 5 years is not enough to create in the child the “habit” of physical exercise and to modify the lifestyle of the families.

Our progressive civilization has vastly reduced the offers of motor skills activities. Therefore, it is essential that school either helps to fill the void or that it offers the possibility of practicing sport activities every year of a student’s school life and not only during elementary school.


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