Condition category
Not Applicable
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Physical activity (exercise) isn’t just good for a child'’s health. Research has shown that physical education (PE) and physical activity can also improve academic performance. However, to date, there have been few studies looking into the effects of physical activity on the cognitive functioning (for example thinking, remembering, judging, and problem-solving) in children. Furthermore, the effects of prolonged sitting on the cognitive functioning of children has never been properly investigated, or indeed how physical activity (or prolonged sitting) affects children’s cardiometabolic health (i.e. their risk of developing heart disease or diabetes). Here, we are going to look into how feasible it is to set up a study to measure the effect of physical activity on the cognitive functioning of children when at school.

Who can participate?
Dutch speaking, healthy children between the ages of 10 and 13.

What does the study involve?
All participating children eat the same breakfast in the morning. They are then randomly allocated into one of three groups. Those in group A sit for a prolonged period in their classroom at school (all morning). Those in group B also sit in their classroom, but with an active break (where the children do a physical activity) halfway through the morning. Those in group C start the day with a physical activity, then sit down in their classroom with an active break halfway through the morning. Blood samples are taken from all the children just before they eat their breakfast and then at the end of the morning. They all take part in cognitive functioning tests at various times throughout the morning.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
There is very little risk to taking part in this study. Blood samples are collected using a fingerprick method, a commonly used technique with few risks.

Where is the study run from?
Department of Public and Occupational Health, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam (Netherlands)

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
June 2013 to June 2014

Who is funding the study?
EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research (Netherlands)

Who is the main contact?
Dr Amika Singh

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Amika Singh


Contact details

van der Boechorststraat 7
1081 BT
+31 (0)20 4448382

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Physical activity, sitting and cognition – a pilot study


Study hypothesis

We hypothesized that both one as well as two bouts of moderate-intensity physical activity would enhance children’s selective attention, with larger effects for repeated bouts, when compared to sitting the whole morning.

Ethics approval

Medical Ethics Committee of the VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), 17/12/2013

Study design

Randomised pilot study

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type

Quality of life

Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet


Physical activity, cognitive functioning


Group A - prolonged sitting
Group B - sitting with an active break halfway the morning
Group C - day start with physical activity, then sitting with an active break halfway the morning

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measures

Selective attention according to the TEA-CH test, measured at baseline, after 20, 110, 130 and 220 minutes

Secondary outcome measures

Fasting blood levels of C-peptide, triglycerides and cholesterol, measured at baseline, after 20, 110, 130 and 220 minutes

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Aged between 10-13 years
2. Apparently healthy
3. Dutch speaking

Children were requested to refrain from any moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) for at least 3 days prior to the experiment.

Participant type

Healthy volunteer

Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

1. Known physical activity contraindications
2. Major illness/injury (acute or chronic)
3. Physical problems that may limit the ability to perform the experiment
Participants will be screened by a health check questionnaire.

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

van der Boechorststraat 7
1081 BT

Sponsor information


EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research (Netherlands)

Sponsor details

VU University Medical Center
Van der Boechorststraat 7
1081 BT

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center (Netherlands)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Results - basic reporting

Publication summary

2015 results in:

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes