Health and physical well-being during primary school age




Physical Education, WHO, Physical Activity, Body, Balance


WHO recommends that individuals spend at least 60 minutes a day in moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA). Especially for children, physical activity (PA) stands as a tool for promoting adequate motor, cognitive and social development. In Italy, the National Directions enshrine for PA in school the guidelines to be pursued to ensure the proper development of the student. However, despite the increasing interest of international and national organizations, while in most of the world there has been a significant development in the quality of the tools to be used within schools, in Italy there has been a stalemate. The aim of the review is to highlight the important value that PA holds in health promotion in the 5–11 age group, in order to urge more concrete action for the promotion of PA in Italian schools. The method used is that of review through consultation of web search engines.


Ainsworth, B. E., Haskell, W. L., Herrmann, S. D., Meckes, N., Bassett, D. R., Jr, Tudor-Locke, C., Greer, J. L., Vezina, J., Whitt-Glover, M. C., & Leon, A. S. (2011). 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities: a second update of codes and MET values. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 43(8), 1575–1581.

Besson, H., Brage, S., Jakes, R. W., Ekelund, U., & Wareham, N. J. (2010). Estimating physical activity energy expenditure, sedentary time, and physical activity intensity by self-report in adults. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 91(1), 106–114.

Brown, T., Moore, T. H., Hooper, L., Gao, Y., Zayegh, A., Ijaz, S., Elwenspoek, M., Foxen, S. C., Magee, L., O’Malley, C., Waters, E., & Summerbell, C. D. (2019). Interventions for preventing obesity in children. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 7(7), CD001871.

Butte N. F. (2006). Energy requirements of infants and children. Nestle Nutrition workshop series. Paediatric programme, 58, 19–37.

Butte, N. F., Watson, K. B., Ridley, K., Zakeri, I. F., McMurray, R. G., Pfeiffer, K. A., Crouter, S. E., Herrmann, S. D., Bassett, D. R., Long, A., Berhane, Z., Trost, S. G., Ainsworth, B. E., Berrigan, D., & Fulton, J. E. (2018). A Youth Compendium of Physical Activities: Activity Codes and Metabolic Intensities. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 50(2), 246–256.

Carini, F., Mazzola, M., Fici, C., Palmeri, S., Messina, M., Damiani, P., & Tomasello, G. (2017). Posture and posturology, anatomical and physiological profiles: overview and current state of art. Acta bio-medica : Atenei Parmensis, 88(1), 11–16.

Carini, F., Mazzola, M., Fici, C., Palmeri, S., Messina, M., Damiani, P., & Tomasello, G. (2017). Posture and posturology, anatomical and physiological profiles: overview and current state of art. Acta bio-medica : Atenei Parmensis, 88(1), 11–16.

Castellucci, H. I., Arezes, P. M., & Viviani, C. A. (2010). Mismatch between classroom furniture and anthropometric measures in Chilean schools. Applied ergonomics, 41(4), 563–568.

Chaput, J. P., Willumsen, J., Bull, F., Chou, R., Ekelund, U., Firth, J., Jago, R., Ortega, F. B., & Katzmarzyk, P. T. (2020). 2020 WHO guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour for children and adolescents aged 5-17 years: summary of the evidence. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 17(1), 141.

Chen, T., Lin, J., Lin, Y., Xu, L., Lu, D., Li, F., Hou, L., & Yu, C. C. W. (2021). Effects of aerobic exercise and resistance exercise on physical indexes and cardiovascular risk factors in obese and overweight school-age children: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS one, 16(9), e0257150.

DiPietro, L., Buchner, D. M., Marquez, D. X., Pate, R. R., Pescatello, L. S., & Whitt-Glover, M. C. (2019). New scientific basis for the 2018 U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines. Journal of sport and health science, 8(3), 197–200.

Dogliani, P. (2000). Sport and Fascism. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 4, 325–345.

Dunton, G., McConnell, R., Jerrett, M., Wolch, J., Lam, C., Gilliland, F., & Berhane, K. (2012). Organized physical activity in young school children and subsequent 4-year change in body mass index. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 166(8), 713–718.

Foster, C., Florhaug, J. A., Franklin, J., Gottschall, L., Hrovatin, L. A., Parker, S., Doleshal, P., & Dodge, C. (2001). A new approach to monitoring exercise training. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 15(1), 109–115. PMID: 11708692

García-Hermoso, A., Izquierdo, M., & Ramírez-Vélez, R. (2022). Tracking of physical fitness levels from childhood and adolescence to adulthood: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Translational pediatrics, 11(4), 474–486.

Haskell, W. L., Lee, I. M., Pate, R. R., Powell, K. E., Blair, S. N., Franklin, B. A., Macera, C. A., Heath, G. W., Thompson, P. D., & Bauman, A. (2007). Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 39(8), 1423–1434.

Hebert, J. J., Klakk, H., Møller, N. C., Grøntved, A., Andersen, L. B., & Wedderkopp, N. (2017). The Prospective Association of Organized Sports Participation With Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Children (the CHAMPS Study-DK). Mayo Clinic proceedings, 92(1), 57–65.

Heinzmann-Filho, J. P., Zanatta, L. B., Vendrusculo, F. M., Silva, J. S. D., Gheller, M. F., Campos, N. E., Oliveira, M. D. S., Feoli, A. M. P., Gustavo, A. D. S., & Donadio, M. V. F. (2018). Maximum Heart Rate Measured Versus Estimated By Different Equations During The Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test In Obese Adolescents. Frequência Cardíaca Máxima Medida Versus Estimada Por Diferentes Equações Durante O Teste De Exercício Cardiopulmonar Em Adolescentes Obesos. Revista paulista de pediatria : orgao oficial da Sociedade de Pediatria de Sao Paulo, 36(3), 309–314.;2018;36;3;00015

Hills, A. P., Andersen, L. B., & Byrne, N. M. (2011). Physical activity and obesity in children. British journal of sports medicine, 45(11), 866–870.

Impellizzeri, F. M., Marcora, S. M., & Coutts, A. J. (2019). Internal and External Training Load: 15 Years On. International journal of sports physiology and performance, 14(2), 270–273.

Inoue, A., Dos Santos Bunn, P., do Carmo, E. C., Lattari, E., & da Silva, E. B. (2022). Internal Training Load Perceived by Athletes and Planned by Coaches: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports medicine - open, 8(1), 35.

Kristensen, P. L., Olesen, L. G., Ried-Larsen, M., Grøntved, A., Wedderkopp, N., Froberg, K., & Andersen, L. B. (2013). Between-school variation in physical activity, aerobic fitness, and organized sports participation: a multi-level analysis. Journal of sports sciences, 31(2), 188–195.

Kwon, Y., Kim, J. W., Heo, J. H., Jeon, H. M., Choi, E. B., & Eom, G. M. (2018). The effect of sitting posture on the loads at cervico-thoracic and lumbosacral joints. Technology and health care : official journal of the European Society for Engineering and Medicine, 26(S1), 409–418.

LeBlanc, A. G., Gunnell, K. E., Prince, S. A., Saunders, T. J., Barnes, J. D., & Chaput, J. P. (2017). The ubiquity of the screen: an overview of the risks and benefits of screen time in our modern world. Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, 2(17), 104–113.

Lobstein, T. (Ed.). (2004). Obesity in Children and Young People: A Crisis in Public Health; Report to the World Health Organization. Blackwell.

MacIntosh, B. R., Murias, J. M., Keir, D. A., & Weir, J. M. (2021). What Is Moderate to Vigorous Exercise Intensity?. Frontiers in physiology, 12, 682233.

Masini, A., Marini, S., Leoni, E., Lorusso, G., Toselli, S., Tessari, A., Ceciliani, A., & Dallolio, L. (2020). Active Breaks: A Pilot and Feasibility Study to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Physical Activity Levels in a School Based Intervention in an Italian Primary School. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(12), 4351.

Morasso, P., Casadio, M., Mohan, V., Rea, F., & Zenzeri, J. (2015). Revisiting the body-schema concept in the context of whole-body postural-focal dynamics. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 9, 83.

Neilson, H. K., Robson, P. J., Friedenreich, C. M., & Csizmadi, I. (2008). Estimating activity energy expenditure: how valid are physical activity questionnaires?. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 87(2), 279–291.

Rowland, T. W. (2005). Children’s exercise physiology. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Sachdev, H. P., Osmond, C., Fall, C. H., Lakshmy, R., Ramji, S., Dey Biswas, S. K., Prabhakaran, D., Tandon, N., Reddy, K. S., Barker, D. J., & Bhargava, S. K. (2009). Predicting adult metabolic syndrome from childhood body mass index: follow-up of the New Delhi birth cohort. Archives of disease in childhood, 94(10), 768–774.

Sainz de Baranda, P., Cejudo, A., Martínez-Romero, M. T., Aparicio-Sarmiento, A., Rodríguez-Ferrán, O., Collazo-Diéguez, M., Hurtado-Avilés, J., Andújar, P., & Santonja-Medina, F. (2020). Sitting Posture, Sagittal Spinal Curvatures and Back Pain in 8 to 12-Year-Old Children from the Region of Murcia (Spain): ISQUIOS Programme. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(7), 2578.

Telama, R., Yang, X., Viikari, J., Välimäki, I., Wanne, O., & Raitakari, O. (2005). Physical activity from childhood to adulthood: a 21-year tracking study. American journal of preventive medicine, 28(3), 267–273.

Tremblay, M. S., Aubert, S., Barnes, J. D., Saunders, T. J., Carson, V., Latimer-Cheung, A. E., Chastin, S. F. M., Altenburg, T. M., Chinapaw, M. J. M., & SBRN Terminology Consensus Project Participants (2017). Sedentary Behavior Research Network (SBRN) - Terminology Consensus Project process and outcome. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 14(1), 75.

Vitali, F., Robazza, C., Bortoli, L., Bertinato, L., Schena, F., & Lanza, M. (2019). Enhancing fitness, enjoyment, and physical self-efficacy in primary school children: a DEDIPAC naturalistic study. PeerJ, 7, e6436.

Warburton, D. E., Katzmarzyk, P. T., Rhodes, R. E., & Shephard, R. J. (2007). Evidence-informed physical activity guidelines for Canadian adults. Canadian journal of public health = Revue canadienne de sante publique, 98 Suppl 2, S16–S68.

Womersley, L., & May, S. (2006). Sitting posture of subjects with postural backache. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 29(3), 213–218.

Yuksel, H. S., Şahin, F. N., Maksimovic, N., Drid, P., & Bianco, A. (2020). School-Based Intervention Programs for Preventing Obesity and Promoting Physical Activity and Fitness: A Systematic Review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(1), 347.

Zhu W. (1997). A multilevel analysis of school factors associated with health-related fitness. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 68(2), 125–135.



How to Cite

Altavilla, G. (2023). Health and physical well-being during primary school age. Formazione & Insegnamento, 21(1S), 54–62.