Regular physical activity is essential for the development and maintenance of good mental and physical health 1. Children in modern industrialised societies spend large amounts of time in sedentary occupations in school classrooms and in sedentary leisure pursuits such as watching television, reading or using computers. It is generally accepted that the onset of many chronic diseases lies in early childhood. Research has shown that children should be moderately active for at least one hour per day 2. In order to reduce adult morbidity and mortality as a result of these diseases the enjoyment and habit of physical activity needs to be inculcated in children from an early age. Improved psychological health may be the strongest benefit of physical activity for young people [1]. The purpose of this project was to develop a multimedia health related fitness activities resource for use in a school context with children aged 7-11. Interactive multimedia (different communication tools such as text, graphics, animation, sound, still images and motion video through which the user can navigate) has been found to enhance learning in the classroom [3]; it has been described as one of several ‘liberating technologies’ [4].


Designed for both teacher and pupil use, the tool sought to include a range of activities to stimulate pupil engagement and promote physical and mental health. Activities were selected on the basis of their suitability in developing physical activity, their ability to create and sustain interest among children, and their ease of selection, application and use. Sample activities were selected and applied in a school context. Feedback directed the selection and design of resource content. A ‘storyboard’ for the tool was developed and authoring software applied to create the multimedia content.


The tool is delivered to the user’s computer by means of CD-ROM. An opening screen provides options for teacher (password protected) or pupil access. A selector screen enables the teacher or pupil to access the discrete sections of the tool. When activities are selected the user is provided with options - to listen to an introduction, to engage in the activities, to obtain support material and additional information. Opportunities are provided to print material (e.g. work sheets) and to input data (e.g. scores). The resource is designed for teacher use to assist lesson planning and preparation, or as a whole class learning/activity tool. It is further designed for individual pupils to access singly, as part of a group, or in a whole class context. Pupils can observe and copy activities (interactively or in the future), can interact with the content either pre- or post-activity, and can engage in self-testing to monitor progress.


In cultures with abundant energy intake weight gain and obesity develop as a consequence of excess energy intake and a lack of adequate quantities of physical activity [5]. The reaction of the biomedical establishment to chronic diseases has been the application of modern technologies through secondary and tertiary treatments to stabilize clinical problems [6]. Greater emphasis on physical activity as primary prevention is the ultimate function of this multimedia resource for young children. It could also have great influence on their academic performance by enhancing their health and fitness.


1. Sallis, J. (2000) Physician & Sp. Med., 28, 31-32 .
[2]. Cresswell, J. (2002) Sport Ex. Health, 14, 18-20.
[3]. Najjar, L. J. (1996). J. Ed. Multimedia & Hypermedia, 5, 129-150.
[4]. Haggerty, T.R., (2000) Pr. Computer Science in Sport, 2, 13-33
[5]. Colditz, G. (1999) Med. Sci. Sp. Ex.,31, S663-S667
[6]. Booth, F. et al. (2000) J. App. Phys., 88, 774-787.