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On-line version ISSN 1659-097X


VARGAS-TENORIO, Jennifer et al. Physical Activity in School Recess: Measurements of Physical Activity and the Perspective of School Children from Educational Centers in Urban and Rural Areas. MHSalud [online]. 2023, vol.20, n.2, pp.12-24. ISSN 1659-097X.


The purpose of this research was to examine the number of active and sedentary students during recess, as well as their perceptions of motivation and barriers that prevent the practice of physical activity in this space, in rural and urban schools in the province of Heredia.


For this, a mixed investigation was carried out, using the SOPLAY instrument to measure and classify the type of physical activity. In addition, focus groups were held with selected schoolchildren, who were asked about their perception of barriers and motivation to engage in physical activity. The population studied in this research was schoolchildren between 7 and 12 years old, who were enrolled in urban and rural public schools in the province of Heredia.


Among the results obtained, statistically significant differences were found between moderate physical activity (AFM) performed in urban schools with respect to rural ones, with urban school students being more active than minors enrolled in rural schools. Regarding vigorous physical activity (VFA), the statistically significant differences were only between sex, being greater in boys than in girls; as for the motivation to do physical activity, among the main reasons for this are learning, playing and socializing. The main barriers mentioned by the children were space, the dangers of infrastructure and violence or bullying.


It is recommended to invest in improving the infrastructure of schools, eliminating waste materials that put the safety of minors at risk so that they have more space to play, in addition to the acquisition of materials to provide more options and promote the realization of physical activity during recess.

Keywords : physical activity; recess; school; perception; play.

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