Background: Attention to the increase of students’ physical activity is one of the goals of Healthy People 2020. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of education on the students’ physical activity by using two methods of lecturing and the peer group.
Methods: In this quasi-experimental study, 142 female students (aged 12-15) were randomly selected and divided into two groups: lecture (n=71) and peer group (n=71). Two physical activity questionnaires; the Physical Activity Questionnaire for older Children (PAQ-C) and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire-Short Form (IPAC-Short Form), were filled out by the students in two phases, before educational intervention and eight weeks later. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 20 using the parametric (independent and paired sample t-tests) and non-parametric tests (Man Whitney U and Wilcoxon Signed-Ranked tests).
Results: The results of the study showed that the hypothesis: “the effect of the educational intervention program using two methods of lecture and education in the peer group is different on the physical activity of students” was accepted. In both groups, the level of physical activity was low in the beginning of the study. However, eight weeks after the educational intervention program, a significant increase was observed in the physical activity of students in the peer group, in comparison to the students in the lecture group using both questionnaires; i.e. PAQ-C (p<0.001) and IPAQ-Short Form (p<0.001). Also, measurement by two questionnaires showed that the number of students with low physical activity in the peer group declined (p=0.001), and the number of those with moderate physical activity was notably added (p<0.01).
Conclusions: Dynamism in the peer group causes sustainable learning in the domain of psychomotor skills. Therefore, this active teaching method can be developed in schools for increasing learning motivation of students in health programs by school or community health nurses.
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