Institut für Sportwissenschaft

Health Promotion in Physical Education

Development and Evaluation of the Eight Week PE Programme “HealthyPEP” for Sixth Grade Students in Germany

In modern society chronic diseases represent the most serious problem in the health system. Even though recent findings reveal the positive effects of regular physical activity, only a small group of young people fulfil the recommended guidelines of at least 60 minutes physical activity per day. Therefore, interventions are necessary to promote active lifestyles starting from a young age. The school is an ideal setting in which to intervene for several reasons such as the large amount of time students spend at school and the fact that in most countries they are obliged to participate in physical education.

Based on theoretical considerations and recent empirical findings in the field of sports science, a health promotion physical education programme “HealthyPEP” consisting of age-appropriate practical training, theoretical elements, and some additional components such as PE homework was designed.By using specific behaviour change techniques, it was designed to provide students the opportunity to experience the effects of regular training and the association between health and physical activity.

During the academic year 2010/2011 HealthyPEP was evaluated using a quasi-experimental design. The study sample consisted of N=516 sixth grade students (mean age 11.90 ± .76 years). The IG classes (N=297) carried out HealthyPEP and the CG (N=219) continued the regular PE lessons. A comprehensive evaluation was carried out using process measures to examine the degree to which HealthyPEP was successfully implemented and outcome measures to analyse the intervention effects on: a) the psychological determinants of physical activity, b) the behaviour of physical activity, and c) the health and fitness level. Finally, students’ cooperation with each other was measured to examine possible side effects of HealthyPEP.

The process measures revealed a positive picture concerning the implementation of HealthyPEP and its evaluation by the participating teachers and students. The results on the outcome variables revealed that HealthyPEP showed positive intervention effects on BMI and girls’ motor performance but did not influence students’ HRQOL, psychological determinants or their physical activity behaviour. Several methodological problems concerning the study design and the measurement instruments used need to be taken into account when interpreting these findings. This leads to the conclusion that positive effects could only be achieved through the direct influence of HealthyPEP that was more intense and energy consuming compared to the regular PE lessons. Additionally, it can be concluded that HealthyPEP was more suitable for girls.


Demetriou, Y., Sudeck, G. & Höner, O. (2014). Indirekte Gesundheitseffekte des Unterrichtsprogramms HealthyPEP: Ergebnisevaluation unter Berücksichtigung der Programminhalte und des Implementierungsgrades im Sportunterricht. [Indirect health effects of the training program HealthyPEP: Evaluation of results considering the contents and degree of implementation in sports training]. Sportwissenschaft 44(2), 86-98. doi: 10.1007/s12662-014-0324-1 [more]

Demetriou, Y. (2012). Health promotion in physical education. Development and evaluation of the eight week PE programme "HealthyPEP" for sixth grade students in Germany. Hamburg: Czwalina.

Demetriou, Y. & Höner, O. (2012). Physical activity interventions in the school setting: A systematic review. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13, 186-196. doi: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2011.11.006

Höner, O., & Demetriou, Y. (2012). Effects of a health-promotion programme in sixth grade German students' physical education. European Journal of Sport Science. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2012.704080