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      Effects of two physical education programmes on health- and skill-related physical fitness of Albanian children.

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          This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of two school-based physical education (PE) programmes (exercise-based and games-based) compared with traditional PE, on health- and skill-related physical fitness components in children in Tirana, Albania. Participants were 378 first-grade (6.8 years) and 389 fourth-grade (9.8 years) children attending four randomly selected schools in Tirana. Twenty-four school classes within these schools were randomly selected (stratified by school and school grade) to participate as exercise group (EG), games group (GG) and control group (CG). Both EG and GG intervention programmes were taught by professional PE teachers using station/circuit teaching framework while CG referred to traditional PE school lessons by a general teacher. All programmes ran in parallel and lasted 5 months, having the same frequency (twice weekly) and duration (45 min). Heart rate (HR) monitoring showed that intensity during PE lessons was significantly higher in the intervention groups compared with control (P < 0.001). Both PE exercise- and games programmes significantly improved several health- and skill-related fitness indicators compared with traditional PE lessons (e.g. gross motor skill summary score: 9.4 (95% CI 7.9; 10.9) for exercise vs. control and 6.5 (95% CI 5.1; 8.1) for games vs. control, cardiorespiratory fitness: 2.0 ml O2 · min(-1) · kg(-1) (95% CI 1.5; 2.4) for exercise vs. control and 1.4 ml O2 · min(-1) · kg(-1) (95% CI 1.0; 1.8) for games vs. control). Furthermore, compared to games-based PE, exercise-based PE showed more positive changes in some gross motor coordination skills outcomes, coordination skills outcomes and cardiorespiratory fitness. The results from this study show that exercise- and games-based PE represents a useful strategy for improving health- and skill-related physical fitness in Albanian elementary school children. In addition, the study shows that exercise-based PE was more effective than games-based PE in improving gross motor function and cardiorespiratory fitness.

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          Author and article information

          J Sports Sci
          Journal of sports sciences
          : 34
          : 1
          [1 ] a Sports University of Tirana , Tirana , Albania.
          [2 ] b Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics , Research Center of Childhood Health, University of Southern Denmark , Odense , Denmark.
          [3 ] c Tirana International School , Tirana , Albania.
          [4 ] d Department of Movement and Health, Faculty of Physical Activity and Recreation , Sports University of Tirana , Tirana , Albania.
          [5 ] e Sport Centre for Children , Tirana , Albania.
          [6 ] f Department of Social Sciences and Education, Faculty of Movement Sciences , Sports University of Tirana , Tirana , Albania.
          [7 ] g Department of Physical Activity, Recreation and Tourism, Faculty of Physical Activity and Recreation , Sports University of Tirana , Tirana , Albania.
          [8 ] h Department of Movement , Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome "Foro Italico" , Rome , Italy.


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