Presentation at the 2007 Active Living Research Annual Conference
In 2001, the Texas state legislature passed Senate Bill 19 (SB19), requiring public elementary school children (K-6) to participate in 30 minutes of daily physical activity or 135 minutes per week. SB19 also requires elementary schools to be trained in and implement an approved coordinated school health program (CSHP) during the 2006-2007 school year. Unfortunately, there was no plan or funding for evaluation of SB19.
The primary objective of this study is to monitor implementation of SB19 among elementary schools in Texas. Further, we intend to measure impact of SB19 on children in schools on the Texas/Mexico border, those heavily populated with poor and Hispanic families.
In this first phase, telephone interviews were conducted with principals and school staff from a statewide representative sample of elementary schools. The interview assessed awareness and implementation of the components of SB19.
Of 171 target schools, 169 (99%) of the interviews were completed. Nearly all schools were aware of the physical education (PE) and coordinated school health requirements (97%), however only 70% were aware of the requirement for a district level school health advisory council. Schools averaged 177 to192 minutes of weekly physical education in kindergarten (K) to 6th grade respectively, therefore complying with the amount specified by SB 19 (range 90-450, SD range 44 - 57 for K to 6th respectively). Common strategies to meet the PE requirements included: PE everyday; physical activity during music; regular exercise in morning; structured activities during recess. Regarding implementation of CSHP, 57% of schools had adopted a program, 50% had received training in the adopted program, and 47% reported having begun implementation.
Data thus far indicate a reasonably high level of compliance with the PE and CSHP requirements of SB19, a very encouraging result for the children of the state of Texas. This fall, Phase 2 of this project will include site visits of randomly selected schools on the Texas/Mexico border with interviews and observations to objectively document the level of reported implementation.