What was school recess like when you were a child? Were your break periods 20 minutes of crazed playing, or did you mill around waiting for a bell to ring? If you played organized games, were they heavy in activity or did everyone line up and wait for a turn to kick a ball or shoot a basket?
For many of us, recess was lackadaisical and unstructured—a pleasant reprieve from math and reading—but did little in terms of burning calories or expending energy. But as childhood obesity rates continue to climb, many are calling for increased physical activity at school; recess seems like a logical place to start. In response, researchers from Children’s Hospital Boston’s Clinical Research Program and UMass Amherst are collecting data that could help teachers turn idle recess time into a high octane, fat-burning extravaganza.