Integrating Exercise into a curriculum can modify unhealthy eating behaviour and reduce sedentary lifestyle in school Children

In a study published in Public Health Nutrition, researchers from the Minas Gerais State Secretariat for Health – Brazil demonstrated the effectiveness of a Brazilian version of the American program ‘TAKE 10!®’ to promote willingness in 6-12 year old schoolchildren to engage in healthy lifestyle related to eating habits and physical activity behaviours. They compared the Brazilian version, called ‘TIRE 10!’ with ‘Agita Galera’, a program designed with the same purpose and recommended by the WHO for developing countries and Brazilian Ministry of Health.

Overweight and obesity has dramatically increased all over the world, including Brazil. The increase in childhood excess body weight has been attributed to behavioural factors that cause a long-term imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. Therefore, behavioural problems require behavioural solutions and excess body weight prevention through targeted behavioural change has become a public health priority.

The study’s goal was to determine the impact the two programs had on a group of 2,038 children after one school-year period.

The TAKE 10! ® program was designed to reduce sedentary behaviour during the school day by enabling teachers to deliver classroom-based physical activity and health promotion content. It integrates grade-specific academic learning objectives in mathematics, science, social studies (history and geography) and language arts with age-appropriate physical activity, nutrition and health content. TAKE 10! was modified to reflect Brazilian education standards, content requirements, culture and language.

“Agita Galera” Program (Shake it up Kids) encourages children to participate in sports, walking, running, cycling, skating, and other moderate to vigorous activities for at least 30 minutes per day, continuously or in intervals, on most days of the week. It also incorporates strategies from the “Five-a-Day” program to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

Children from TIRE 10! ® intervention group were 79% and 78% more likely to reduce fatty food consumption and increase Fruit and Vegetable consumption respectively. ‘Tire10’ children were also 67%, 75% AND and 2.0 times more likely to increase physical activity and reduce TV/DVD and games/computers screen time respectively, when compared to children from “Agita Galera” active control group.

The ‘TIRE 10!’ intervention programme was therefore highly effective in moving children closer to modifying their eating habits, PA and time spent in sedentary pursuits. Therefore, it promotes healthy behavioural changes and has great potential for reducing the incidence and prevalence of excess body weight in children and its future co-morbidities.

This paper is freely available for a limited period via the following link:


To learn more about this study, please contact:
Robespierre Costa Ribeiro MD, PhD
Rua Santa Helena 75. CEP: 30220240. Belo Horizonte. Minas Gerais. Brazil.
Tel: +55 31 9992-7700
E-mail: [email protected]

To learn more about TAKE 10! Program, please access:


  1. Increased physical activity within the school curriculum is very welcome, particularly if it is variable and not just restricted to one or two sports.

    However one of the biggest causes of child inactivity in western countries is car dependence. Children no longer walk or cycle to school in large numbers as they did 30 or 40 years ago.

    This is of course understandable. On today’s congested roads, parents know that being run over by a car is the most likely cause of death and injury to children. They try to insulate their offspring from this danger by ferrying them everywhere in vehicles, unfortunately injuring their health and fitness in the process.

    There are steps that could be taken to combat this problem and make urban pedestrians and cyclists safer.

    Research in Germany has shown that rigidly enforced 20mph speed limits in urban areas have a significant positive effect on the numbers of people walking and cycling.

    Some German cities also ban heavy goods vehicles, creating a ring of distribution depots around the city where large loads are decanted into vans for delivery, thereby removing large vehicles from the centre.*

    Perhaps it’s time that vehicle speed management and traffic reduction in urban areas were seen as pro-health measures in the widest sense.

    *Source: Car Sick by Lynn Sloman ISBN: 978-1903998762

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