Using heart-rate feedback to increase physical activity in children

Alison M. McManus (Corresponding Author), Rich S.W. Masters, Raija M.T. Laukkanen, Clare C.W. Yu, Cindy H.P. Sit, Fiona C.M. Ling

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The objective of this study was to test whether heart-rate feedback prompts increased physical activity (PA) in primary school students. Methods: A controlled trial with 210 9-11 year olds from subsidized Hong Kong Government primary schools was completed in December 2006. Schools were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Control (CG); Educational program (EG); No-educational program (NEG). Intervention: In a short-term school-based intervention, heart-rate feedback was given either in combination with an educational program (EG) or in isolation (NEG). Long-term retention was assessed in comparison to the control group after 6 months follow-up. Main outcome measures: Physical activity and changes in attraction to PA. Results: In the short-term, heart-rate monitor feedback increased total daily PA by an average of 24% (p < 0.001) and vigorous PA by 0.6% (p < 0.05). No change was found for moderate PA. Increases occurred regardless of involvement in the educational program, and in the absence of any change in attitudes towards PA. No long-term retention was apparent. Conclusions: The findings from the study suggest that feedback from heart-rate monitors encourages low intensity PA, but when removed increases do not persist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-408
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Feedback
  • Intervention
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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