A Systematic Review and Qualitative Synthesis Resulting in a Typology of Elementary Classroom Movement Integration Interventions

Document Type


Publication Date



Activity break, Classroom physical activity, Comprehensive school physical activity program, Physical active lesson, Qualitative synthesis, Systematic review


Background/Objective: Movement integration (MI) involves infusing physical activity into normal classroom time. A wide range of MI interventions have succeeded in increasing children’s participation in physical activity. However, no previous research has attempted to unpack the various MI intervention approaches. Therefore, this study aimed to systematically review, qualitatively analyze, and develop a typology of MI interventions conducted in primary/elementary school settings. Subjects/Methods: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed to identify published MI interventions. Irrelevant records were removed first by title, then by abstract, and finally by full texts of articles, resulting in 72 studies being retained for qualitative analysis. A deductive approach, using previous MI research as an a priori analytic framework, alongside inductive techniques were used to analyze the data. Results: Four types of MI interventions were identified and labeled based on their design: student-driven, teacher-driven, researcher-teacher collaboration, and researcher-driven. Each type was further refined based on the MI strategies (movement breaks, active lessons, other: opening activity, transitions, reward, awareness), the level of intrapersonal and institutional support (training, resources), and the delivery (dose, intensity, type, fidelity). Nearly half of the interventions were researcher-driven, which may undermine the sustainability of MI as a routine practice by teachers in schools. An imbalance is evident on the MI strategies, with transitions, opening and awareness activities, and rewards being limitedly studied. Delivery should be further examined with a strong focus on reporting fidelity. Conclusions: There are distinct approaches that are most often employed to promote the use of MI and these approaches may often lack a minimum standard for reporting MI intervention details. This typology may be useful to effectively translate the evidence into practice in real-life settings to better understand and study MI interventions.

Publication Title

Sports Medicine - Open